The teenage club “Girls can!” has been active since March 2021. During this time we got to know more than one hundred teenage girls and held more than 60 open and closed events. Together we went through the pandemic and lockdowns, attendance and format crises, the beginning of the full-scale war and dozens of alarms that warned both of air raids and personal problems. Now our teenage club is more than regular lectures and workshops. It’s a community of like-minded friends, ambassadors of the generation of new sincerity and feminist values.

Autumn brings a special time for our club: the vacations are over, and teens return to school, while we search for new and interesting opportunities for development, self-actualization, and search for the self for our participants.

What was the autumn like for the teenage club?

We began our September meetings with lectures about the beginnings and development of Ukrainian animation, We watched short films and discussed cartoons from our childhood and the impact they had on us. The coordinator of our club Anastasia-Lyubov gave a lecture, and cartoon screening and discussion were moderated by our permanent participant Olena Petryshyn who initiated the event.

Next week we had the event initiated by our participant Polina. We watched several animated films for women and about women as part of the festival from Linoleum. We then shared our impressions in the closed chat for the club members.

On September 25 members of the teenage club got to know Oleksandra Sladkova, head of the Ecology and Natural Resources Department of the Department of Urban Planning of Lviv City Council. At the meeting, we shared our experiences and reflected on finding ourselves and our dream job.

In sunny October, we had feminist readings in the park. It was a series of closed events where club members could safely share their thoughts and experiences.

For the rest of autumn, we held open thematic events pertaining to 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Together with VOICE Amplified we organized a series of lectures and workshops for teenagers about fighting gender-based violence and taking care of our safety.

We began with a series of meetings where the club members learned the key definitions and explored the causes and effects of violence in historical and personal contexts. We were aided by the gender experts Yana Pekun and Marta Chumalo.

Photo: Tania Dzhafarova

On November 5 and 6, we held a two-day movement workshop led by the performer and choreographer Anna Vinogradova in the space Soma. workshop. Via the contemporary dance and game format we reacquainted ourselves with our bodies and the space around.
In the next two meetings, we talked with members of the Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association Jurfem. We met the head of the communications department and trainer Yaryna Voloshyn and consultant of the hotline “Jurfem: support” Marta Zmysla. They shared valuable advice and stories about activist life in theory and practice. Our members also learned how to protect themselves from violence, and where to ask for help.

What happens in the club now?

In the new year of 2023, we keep seeing each other at the weekly meetings of the teenage club – we play tabletop games, draw, read and learn about Ukrainian cinema. The majority of these meetings are held in the closed format in our warm and lit office of Feminist Workshop. We are open to requests from our members and encourage them to implement their own initiatives.

Our support is not limited to club meetings. In particular, we provided a separate room of our office and a power station of the organization to the teenager and activist Olena Petryshyn so that they could pass their IELTS. Despite the unstable energy supply Olenka successfully passed the 4-hour test and confidently walks upon the path of self-actualization.

Text: Anastasiia-Liubov Pankevych
Translation: Kira Leonova

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