Democracy and citizen participation practices are promoted in a Konrad Adenauer Foundation-sponsored project called “Promoters of Democracy: Education through Film”. Fifteen finalists taking part in the project, active Moldovan citizens and refugees from Ukraine, shared their initiatives implemented in various areas, including education, social inclusion, alternative transport and so on. The stories and experience that they shared in video or textual formats will serve as inspiration for a fiction film with an educational undertone about democracy in action. Expected to be released in the summer, the film will be screened in thematic summer camps, and later, from September, in educational institutions throughout the country.
The film director Liviu Rotaru, a Konrad Adenauer Foundation scholarship holder, said that the best way to gather ideas for a film about democracy is to meet the people who promote democracy in everyday life, and thus a contest was launched to collect stories of civically engaged citizens. The participants were chosen on the basis of video or text materials according to a series of criteria, such as truthfulness, the impact of the activities implemented on society, the promotion of democratic values, and adaptability for the big screen.
“Of the 65 participants in this contest, we have selected 15 finalists, despite the fact that initially we intended to choose only the ten best materials. The ideas were so diverse and people had so much to tell us that we decided to select and award 15 participants and interview them. Based on these interviews, which will also be distributed through social media, we will select ideas for a fiction film, which will have an educational role to it as well”, explained the director.
Liviu Rotaru went on to add that the activists will be involved in shooting the film, but professional actors will also be casted. The renowned director Vlad Druc will work on the script for a greater documentary value, since the movie will be based on real-life stories. “I want to present it in a way that is as attractive as possible to young people. And then it is possible to employ actors or weave several threads into a single story. In the coming weekend and in the following weeks we will work on the script and decide on the filming locations, on how many stories we will be able to combine and who will be casted, but there will certainly be a balance between actors, young actors, professional actors, and the actual participants”, said the director.
Natalia Corobca-Ianusevici, project coordinator at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Moldova, said that the Foundation’s mission includes supporting various events that promote democratic values in our country. Scholarship programs are also organized, including the scholarship program for Moldovan students. It involves a monthly stipend offered to young people so that they don’t have to work an odd job for an extra penny. Instead, they can use their spare time to help the Foundation strengthen democracy in Moldova through various activities, invite other young people to get involved civically and to contribute, in turn, to the strengthening of democracy in the communities. “Our freedom to decide on our own and to see what is best for us is extremely important”, said the project coordinator.
Mariana Țîbuleac-Ciobanu, journalist, activist and a finalist of the contest, creates podcasts on fighting disability prejudices, where the focus is rather on special abilities rather than disabilities. They feature in particular inspirational stories shared by people with disabilities. “My goal is to make the voice of disabled people heard, to implement social inclusion, independent living, adapted transport and buildings, which are a norm in democratic countries, but which, sadly, we don’t always find here in our country. This is what motivated me to participate in the contest”, said the activist.
Another finalist is Iulia Gore, a twelfth-grader, who implemented a “ride a bike to school” project in her village of Varnița, Anenii Noi. Thanks to the young activist and her team, a bicycle parking lot was created. According to the student, the lack of parking was a pressing problem that concerned the local youth. “We carried out awareness raising activities on the benefit of alternative transport, promotion of pro-environmental behavior and citizen activism. At the beginning it was very difficult to motivate our peers to get involved in our activities, but along the way they saw that it is possible to change the situation for the better with their own efforts”, said the student.
Tatiana Caciula, a teacher of Romanian language and literature in the city of Glodeni, implemented a project that promoted board games in school as a means for game-based and non-formal education. “Playing games helps children become more united. Through this opportunity young people learn how to communicate with each other. The learning mode is interactive, so the skills are much easier to master. I wanted to promote peer-to-peer education and democracy”, explained the teacher.
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been present in Moldova since 2007.