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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 8 November 2014
SATURDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2014 15 On the slopes of Rethymno's Mount Psiloreitis efforts are being made to curb the use of guns. Witnessing or experiencing family violence has serious implications for children, but none more so than children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The Intouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence is hoping to create new culturally sensitive therapeutic resources for children experiencing family violence and is seeking funds for the project. The centre has launched a crowd funding campaign, hoping to reach $20,000 by November 19 to help them add to their child therapy products. Already the team has created a children's book called The Empty Jar, which parents and therapists can use to help children better deal with the difficulties of family violence and relocation. The book, launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival last month, is the first phase of the centre's culturally sensitive resources they want to create. CEO of the centre Maya Avdibegovic says the crowd funding campaign will help fund the second phase of products. "We want to develop a whole therapeutic pack to go with the book that will consist of emotion cards, stickers and some other tools that can be used in therapy as well as parenting tip sheets translated in 10 different languages," she tells Neos Kosmos. Currently the tipping point of the campaign is at the $10,000 mark, meaning if the funding reaches that point, the centre will be able to keep the funds. Seeing the success and response of the book, the centre has been encouraged to keep the product line growing. Initially, the idea for creating these resources was born out of noticing a need to entertain children when their mothers come to the centre. "The Empty Jar started as a very small scale project. We were approached by our graphic designer who wanted to do some pro-bono work for us to develop some colouring pages for children that come to our offices when their mothers have appointments with us," Ms Avdibegovic says. The centre deals with almost 1,000 cases a year from 94 backgrounds. Last year, the centre helped 17 Greek women get help from their abusive relationships. About half of the cases the centre deals with include children, which is why it was so important for them to create these products. No donation is too small, but those donating above $25 will receive special gifts and mentions. For a $100 donation, you will receive a signed card from Sunni (the protagonist in The Empty Jar), a set of illustrated cards and your name on the Centre's website acknowledging your support. A $500 donation will get all those perks above, but also comes with a signed poster and signed copy of The Empty Jar. A $1,000 donation includes a ticket to the 2015 Comedy Festival to see The Empty Jar ambassador Nazeem Hussain, along with the other prizes. If the crowd funding campaign is successful, the centre will look at expanding their product line to include practitioner training workshops to increase their capacity to work with culturally and linguistically diverse clients. To donate, visit http:// startsomegood.com/fillthejar To find out more about inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence go to www.intouch.asn.au For those needing help, the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached toll free on 1800 015 188. Crowd funding to combat family violence HELEN VELISSARIS The Empty Jar book has been created to help children through family violence. New campaign launched to help produce culturally sensitive therapeutic resources for children experiencing family violence The Empty Jar book launch at the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival - with creators Jennifer Dawson, Judith Martinez and Craig Billingham of Pablo Browne and special guest Nazeem Hussain. archives of Eleftheri Kriti (Free Crete), a newspaper which acted as mouthpiece for the parties of the National Liberation Front (EAM), on the front page from 16 May, 1947. The top story was a reconciliation agreement between the residents of Skaliano. They had gathered five days earlier in the village, and in the presence of a priest and the teacher decided to be more loving and united in the future, and for their reconciliation to be based on mutual respect of their respective political beliefs. Throughout the island's history blood has been shed and vendettas have been declared where compromises could not be reached. Even today there are families that still wear black in public to signal grief, villages that have been deserted by violence, and places where church fetes are no longer held. Death in a blood feud is, according to Tsantiropoulos, "a wrinkled death", in that there is nothing heroic about it and its wounds run deep and long. This is why mediators come under a great deal of stress until an agreement is sealed. If they fail, they risk their own reputations as well and feel responsible. At the age of 85, Chnaris is no longer prepared to take risks. He walks tall through the streets of his village and always grabs tightly onto the arm of anyone who shakes his hand. Until three years ago, he was an active mediator. "I didn't miss a single agreement," he says. "Now I am gradually retiring because I need to protect myself. I can speak my mind and give some directions. But if a deal falls through and someone is injured or killed, you bear part of the blame." Despite the fact that he has more or less given up the work, Chnaris still remembers all of the cases he mediated. But when I ask him to mention a couple, he refuses to go into any depth. "They are asleep and I don't want to wake them," he says. Life in the villages of Mt Psiloreitis In the larger villages on the slopes of Rethymno's Mount Psiloreitis, with populations of around 2,000 residents, where the wind chisels the rock and scores lines on faces, life moves to the beat of a very different drum. Efforts are being made to curb the use of guns, yet at any festivity there will be some man with a gun in his belt. Most locals marry young and have many children. The majority are livestock farmers and on the streets two in three cars are off-road vehicles, used to climb the steep, remote roads to their flocks. Rustling was and remains one of the main sources of conflict between the locals. Enemies will steal each other's animals when they feel threatened. In Livadia, locals reached an agreement in the 1960s to abstain from animal theft. But in 2011, 47 such cases were reported to the police and in 2012 another 26 in all of the Rethymno regional unit. Ten days before I arrived at Livadia and Anogeia, another case of animal theft had taken place. It wasn't certain whether it would be reported to the authorities, but the mediators were already on the case. They would find out who took the animals and after approaching them get them to agree to return most. The thief would probably get to keep a few of the animals - to save face - and the owner would never learn who it was. The mediators would simply tell the owner where he would be able to find his missing animals at some remote location. Around 20 years ago, Giorgos Manouras knew the family that had stolen his animals. "They stole sheep from us and we were angry. I reached a sasmos. With one thing and another, if you don't have a sasmos, people may die," says the 43-year-old livestock farmer. "How you talk to each person and make them understand a situation makes a difference." *This is the edited version of the article first published in Greek daily Kathimerini.
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