orange bench

A German school’s initiative for safety in public spaces

A vocational school in Hennef, Germany marked the 40th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism with an unusual and inspiring initiative. The institution is one among a national network of "Courage Schools", and their campaign showed that combatting violence against women and girls is everybody's business.

orange bench

A German school’s initiative for safety in public spaces

A vocational school in Hennef, Germany marked the 40th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism with an unusual and inspiring initiative. The institution is one among a national network of "Courage Schools", and their campaign showed that combatting violence against women and girls is everybody's business.

A vocational school in Germany has come up with an inspiring way to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Girls, creating 16 orange benches to stand in public spaces in their community, each carrying messages, such as “No Place For Violence Against Women”, or “No Love Without Respect”.

Students at the Carl-Reuther-BerufsKolleg in Hennef in North Rhine-Westphalia, from woodworking, metalwork and design technology, worked together in the college’s own workshops to create the benches, building on an idea developed in Italy. In a striking demonstration of community solidarity, all the costs were covered by a grant from local building societies and from the school’s own grant-giving fund. The benches were presented to the equalities officers from all areas of the district council at an event attended by the district council’s Chief Executive and local area mayors.

Project coordinator Eva Zoske explained, “We took part in this initiative as a school because we are a “Courage School”, which means that we are a participating member of a national campaign titled “A School Without Racism – A School With Courage”. We work actively to counter all forms of discrimination and launch a project every year focusing on a particular form of discrimination. I lead the campaign working group in our school and as such was the coordinator for the whole project.”

A press release from the school notes, “The most common cause of death for women aged between 16 and 44 is violence, not accidents or illness. The pandemic has unfortunately increased the concern around domestic violence and we are therefore delighted to play our part as a “Courage School” in taking action against this shocking trend.”

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