Trust grantee Open Line has created an app to help educate young women and girls in Kyrgyzstan on the dangers of bride kidnapping. Forced marriage and abduction of girls to this end are illegal in Kyrgyzstan but still occur, mainly in rural areas due to its continuing social acceptance, and often lead to domestic violence and marital rape. Many young women do not realise that their basic freedom to choose is being violated, and Open Line intends the gaming app to raise awareness of their right to demand protection from the state.
Munara Beknazarova, Director of Open Line, notes that often young women lack positive female role models, beyond those that represent traditional female virtues of humility and submission to their husband’s or family’s will. Beknazarova explains that the game, ‘Swallows. Spring in Bishkek’ is designed to provide these positive role models and also to inform the participants what steps to take to help girls who are kidnapped.
Beknazarova shared her thoughts on the game: “I think this approach is very important – this simulator game, while being unobtrusive, promotes the values of life and the future, legal education, helps [the player to] gain leadership skills and features values such as support, trust, friendship. We really hope that through this format we will increase the awareness of girls in Kyrgyzstan about legislation designed to protect them and give young women functional skills on how and where to seek help, and what to say”.
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