‘Claim Your Rights’ is one of the key training workshops we offer in schools. It aims to teach village girls how to protect themselves and how to prepare for the potential move to Bangkok, with all the new risks and dangers that it presents.
We run pre and post-training tests and collect evaluation surveys from the girls who take this workshop, to try and measure our success in training. We want to share with you some of our findings from this assessment.
We often find a serious lack of understanding of the law and criminal behavior. For example:
- Before training over 50% of girls did not think that domestic violence was a crime.
- After training, this was reduced to less than 35%.
However, there is some way to go. In training, we found a concerning belief among girls that a crime could not be committed by a friend or relative (over 80% believed this to be not possible), nearly 90% believed that they shouldn’t tell their parents if they experience crime because it is a bother to them, and 83% believed that crimes only included bodily harm.
Fortunately, although this is a serious topic, we are able to run the training with games, role-play and videos so that it is engaging for the students. We received the following feedback:
- 99% highly agreed with the statement: “You have more knowledge and understand more about the dangers in your life after this workshop”.
- 96% highly agreed with the statement: “You now understand more about your rights and the law and how to use this information if violence or crime occurs”.
- 97% highly agreed with the statement: “You have new self-defense skills that you can use if you face danger in your life.”
Comments on the forms included (translated from Thai):
- “So happy to see you. Please come back.”
- “Would like to know more about how to look after myself and want to join an activity like this again.”
- “Just want to say thank you for giving us a lot of good information. Thank you very much.”
- “The content is very interesting. This teaches us how to protect ourselves and know who can help us when in danger.”
- “This is so useful and I am able to use it in daily life. You should come every year for other girls.”
- “I want you to do activity every year or one time per year because I know better and understand how to protect myself.”
- “So much fun and learn so many things from the trainer. Trainers so nice and happy.
The students from each of the schools are so different. We have to adjust the way to run the workshop for each group. Some do not stop talking, others are very weak in speaking and writing and do not know the words to describe their thoughts, and some are too shy to share their ideas. I think this is because they have not had to think about issues like this before and it is all new to them. This reinforces how important the training is.
We have found it successful to run the workshop like a drama (demonstrate the story in role-play). The students understand more about violence this way. Previously, they thought violence is only rape but there are so many types of violence. So we are able to successfully show them in role-play the different types, and this creates awareness.
It has been helpful to update each workshop for each region with an example of an incident in the news from that area. This is helping us a lot in terms of how to provide information and help participants relate our training to their lives. One of the examples we gave from the news was a domestic violence case, which is something that is widespread in the villages. No one was very bothered about it, as it was considered a “husband and wife issue” and just the way things are. This is worrying and it will take time to change this attitude.
One issue we face is the lack of understanding of Thai. Fortunately, Poy can speak the local Isaan language and helps with translating training. This helps a lot as the participants are more comfortable to speak and share in their own language.
The workshop cannot cover all rights within the time period, but it still manages to create awareness among the groups about what basic rights they have, especially those about domestic violence.
Students also gain new information about other organizations and agencies they can contact in times of need, other than just the police. It is very useful that we give out the contact details for some of these organizations, so they can find help in case of an incident.
The workshop brings together the issues that women in today’s world are forced to face, covering threats, rights, and self-defense. Most people think that this has nothing to do with them at the start. However, when the subject is linked with real life, the participants became aware that it is not that distant from them and could have a big impact on their life.
Claim Your Rights is new for the school and community. No other organization has done the activity in this way before. Students are interested in the activity, enjoy it and really get involved in the workshop.
The content of the workshop and the way we try to relate it to their daily life really helps them to understand the complicated information we are trying to provide. Some of the schools have high risk students attending. Our workshop is able to already help them with current issues in their life.