"Women Empowered for the Next Step", a project carried out jointly by the Center for Girls and Plant Association, included 25 activists of the Center for Girls.

Girls and women attended the workshops on the prevention against gender-based violence and self-defence trainings. The project was supported by Australian Embassy in Belgrade.

At the Center for Girls, three workshops on the prevention against gender-based violence were held. The workshops dealt with the forms of violence, prejudices, why women stay in violent relationships, legal regulations, competencies of institutions, what kind of help civil society organization can provide. The participants talked about their experience with violence and the cycle of violence was presented as an important tool for recognizing and identifying violence. In the end, the preparations for self-defence trainings were done. The workshops were held by Natalija Pljaskić and Silvija Mihajlović, consultants on SOS helplines and long-terms workshop facilitators, and Tatjana Nikolić, an expert on gender-based violence.

Five trainings of self-defence were held by Tatjana Nikolić and Andrijan Tasić, a professor of physical education. The trainings took part in Sreten Mladenović Mika elementary school, where girls and women were taught self-defence techniques selected on the basis of their inquiries during a workshop held by Tatjana Nikolić.

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Here's what the participants said after the workshops and trainings:

  • What is violence, how to escape it, prevent it and identify it.
  • What is violence? Am I a victim of violence? How to deal with violence?
  • I feel safer. I feel content after the workshop. I know who to turn for help or how to help others.
  • Power. Strength. Energy. Brave. Dauntless. Reviewed what I had already known. Enjoyment.
  • We are not to blame. Violence should not be covered up.
  • I am more aware of the world and possible dangers. Now I know that I can defend myself!
  • Self-confidence.
  • Before, I was feeling self-confident though I was aware that I hadn't mastered any technique which I could use to defend myself against a violator. And I knew that my self-confidence was ungrounded and that I could get hurt because of that. Now, having successfully attended and completed the trainings, I am confident with reason. I know a lot of things which might help me if anyone attacks me, and the best thing of all is that I can improvise and combine everything I have learned, which is a lot. Thank you!
  • I've learned that what definitely matters is not the strength, but the technique.
  • I feel safer and have much more self-confidence.
  • I gained more self-confidence that I could fight for myself in any situation.
  • Safety, determination and self-confidence.
  • The trainings gave me more than I had expected. All trainings were interesting and I've learned a lot of things I didn't know before. I was surprised at how some things functioned. Arm bars are great because they can be used in different situations. Just logic and overcoming your own fear.
  • I found out that I could overpower an attacker stronger than me with an arm bar.
  • I realised that self-confidence is important and that there is always a way.
  • I feel more powerful and stronger. I gained even more self-confidence. The trainings helped me realise how powerful, capable, dedicated and skilful women are. All the techniques we were taught were excellent, useful and efficient.

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