Students at the Marka and Zarqa schools in Jordan this week put their best artistic skills into action in support of UNIFEM's campaign against violence against women, and to express their ideas and feelings about the issue.
By Mohammad Khalil Abu Shuleih
"My teacher inspired me to draw this painting," says Mohammad Khalil Abu Shuleih proudly, a seventh grader at Zarqa Preparatory Boys School No. 1. "I chose the red colour to reflect strong resolve and determination to fight violence against our mothers and sisters," he explains.
By Mohammad Naeem Abu Hindi
Teachers at the schools made a special effort to incorporate the sessions into their human rights teaching, which proved an inspiration to the young would-be artists. "Women have rights that should be respected", said Mohammad Naeem Abu Hindi, an eighth grader of the same school. "That’s why my painting shows a woman who is brokenhearted as a result of humiliation."
By Aya Saadi Jaber
Aya and Bayan, two sisters at Marka Girls School, have their own approach. After a discussion in class on the theme of violence against women, Aya went home and talked about the subject with her mum. Aya’s mother told her about a neighbour who is frequently beaten up by her husband. "I decided to make this woman the subject of my painting," says Aya. "The terrified faces of the woman and her children explain their human pain and suffering."
By Bayan Saddi Jaber
Bayan, meanwhile, looked to the internet for ideas. She came across an article about men exploiting women. "I decided to use the idea in my painting, which shows a woman carrying a man. He, not she, holds a banner about women’s rights," Bayan says, adding: "In my opinion, many men exploit women in the name of defending women’s rights!"
By Isra’a Abdullah Ibrahim
Another young student at Marka school, Isra’a, was inspired by an Arabic TV series to create a powerful image. "In the story, the man locked up his wife in a room all day. So, I decided to use the idea for my painting, where a woman is treated like an animal in a zoo, and the guard throws in food for her to eat."
Aya, Bayan and Isra’a explain that they love to participate in art exhibitions at their school. With their help, last year the school won the first rank in a national art competition held across government, and private and UNRWA schools in Jordan.