Violence against children is a global problem. According to UNICEF, 1/5 of homicide victims are under the age of 19 and 4 out of 5 kids between the ages of 2 and 14 are subjected to some form of violent discipline at home. On November 30th, Quetzaltrekkers sponsored a theater festival to combat violence again children in Leon. The event was organized by Chavaladas, one of the organizations Quetzaltrekkers supports with monthly donations. The festival used music, dance and theatrical performances to create a dialogue about the effects of violence against children in Nicaraguan society.
Quetzaltrekkers supported the event by paying to rent the municipal theater in Leon. The children were delighted to be able perform in this beautiful building in the center of Leon. Quetzaltrekkers volunteers spent the morning decorating the theater’s stage with balloon displays. Children from several different projects arrived in the afternoon and lined up to have their faces painted by Quetzaltrekkers volunteers.
After all the children had their faces painted with an assortment of hearts, baseballs and cats, everyone took their seats in the theater and the show began. Over the next two hours, different groups of children sang, danced, recited poetry and performed skits about the theme of violence against children. One skit which was performed by a group of teenage girls (some of whom dressed in male clothes) addressed the topic of street harassment. Traditional Nicaraguan dances were performed as well as a modern dance addressing the topic of violence and alcohol abuse. It was really amazing to see kids processing this complicated and important topic through art and music. Art, music and culture are powerful vehicles for changing cultural norms. The festival was much more than a day of fun; it was also a step towards a world where all children are safe from violence.