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The 16 days of activism under the Orange the World campaign in Romania centred on the actions undertaken at Union and club level with the aim of preventing and combating violence of all kinds against girls and women.

 

As different surveys and data from social reality show, the phenomenon of violence continues to be an unacceptable presence in our daily life, and there are still too many people who ignore the problem.

 

This is the reason why prevention and awareness raising on violence are high on the SI Union of Romania’sagenda. This year Romanian Soroptimists tried to be more creative and diverse in talking about violence. All the clubs in Romania have organised impressive events which were either a debate in schools and universities that involved representatives of relevant authorities, a street action, a show or a painting exhibition on the theme. At least one, involved girls, boys, women and men.

 

In cooperation with “ARTUT”, an art organisation, an exhibition was organized in Bucharest on the theme of orange and violence in all their forms.

 

 

The “Bride’s waterfall” by the young painter, Corina Chirilă, is based on a true story of violence. A young girl was forced to marry a man she did not want. She decided to commit suicide by throwing herself into a waterfall.

 

The Opera House in Cluj-Napoca lit up in orange while the shop-windows of the central Fashion House in Brașov displayed decorations and mannequins dressed in orange next to the SIE poster translated into Romanian. These were ways of communicating the campaign messages with the added power of art.

 

Town halls, like the one in Târgoviște, hosted an “Orange debate”, lending the colour to both the topics discussed and the landscape.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined our efforts by urging the Romanian embassies in Europe to lit up their buildings in orange and inform the Romanian communities there on the profoundness and gravity of violence and its consequences, no matter whether private or public. The diplomatic missions in Lisbon, Paris, Athens, Berlin and Copenhagen have organized such events.

 

Combating violence has been also approached through education and empowerment. During the 16 days, actions addressing teenagers, young mothers back to school, the national project supported by the Danish Union, STEM education in 13 schools, as well as education for tolerance, respect of the other and good health have been done by all the clubs in the presence of parents and invitees. Intergenerational learning has been one of the goals.

 

Soroptimist International got recognition and support from the highest level of the Romanian State. The Presidential Administration joined the Orange the World campaign by having its headquarters, the Palace of Cotroceni, lit up in orange on the evening of 10 December 2019. Thus, the International Human Rights Day was marked by a strong and firm NO to violence against women.

 

During the 16 days of activism the Romanian Soroptimists did their best to convey a strong message to the world. But this does not end here. To stop violence, we must continue to act and to send the same message through words, emotions, colours or other means – over and over again – until the message becomes part of the conscience of each and every one of our fellow-citizens.

Author

Madlen Serban, Advocacy Coordinator, SI Romania

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Madlen Serban

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