GBVP Project Staff (left) Manager, Kathryn Bates-Khan and Research Assistant, Taylor Barei (right) Hold the “healthy family tree” art piece that was collaboratively developed by newcomer children, youth and families as a part of the GBVP project.


The YMCA Immigrant Services Gender-Based Violence Prevention Project (GBVP) began in September 2017 with a review of organizations and programs that work in the sectors of settlement and in gender-based violence (GBV). This project has a focus on working with newcomer children, youth, and families to raise awareness about GBV to build healthy communities. Resources and programming have been developed focusing on healthy relationships, strong families and providing information about preventing GBV. Another project goal is to enhance staff and community capacity to respond to and prevent GBV and to challenge all types of discrimination.  A few different resources and tools are in the process of being developed. These include: a youth video, a facilitators guide for the youth video, a GBVP staff manual, an explainer video on GBVP, and an educational booklet documenting our YMCA boy’s conference.

In December, GBVP project staff led a family workshop to create an art piece to raise awareness and an accompanying report. This was an action research workshop designed to get client input about perspectives and understandings of what makes families healthy and strong.

One resource is a short video documenting a forum theatre workshop project that was facilitated with 30 YMCA youth participants. Forum theatre is the performance of a set of scenes or vignettes by actors, in this case youth. By sharing their own individual experiences and opinions, forum theatre offers people the opportunity to explore possibilities and suggest alternative changes in behavior. Forum theatre gives people the tools for self-empowerment and social change while developing their dramatic skills. The three main scenes of the film revolve around places that are significant to youth: at school, at home and with their peers.

Youth participant quotes from forum theatre event:

“We were talking about the issue that they’re saying that the men have more power than the women and then he’s the one [who] has control, but that’s not right, because the women have their rights.” – Mohammad

“Everyone began to learn a little bit. So everyone have their own thoughts, and like this project, everyone like began to change their thinking. They began like to believe in other things, like sometimes they were doing something wrong, but now they begin to be like ‘we are wrong, we have to change’.” – Dania

“We can do the same thing in our real life; it doesn’t have to be an act. It doesn’t finish here. If someone is being treated unfairly we can go and ask them: why are you doing this?” – Hasher

The project launch is planned for the last week of April more details to follow!