Rationale / Development
This activity was introduced to the CoMC project team by Catherine Scerri, Director of Bahay Tuluyan, a Child Rights organisation based in the Philippines. The activity was used to initiate discussion on child protection issues. In preparing students for international work-integrated learning placements it is a useful activity for initiating discussion on child protection issues and the role of students.
- Divide group into 4. If possible allocate a room for each group.
- Give each group one of the following instructions:
- First group – give them a bunch of balloons and string. Ask them to blow up as many as they can and tie them to their ankles.
- Second group – tell them that when the game starts they have to pop as many balloons as they can.
- Third group – tell them that when the game starts they have to prevent balloons getting popped.
- Fourth group – no instructions.
- Once the first group has blown up at least 1 or 2 balloons each, tell everyone the game has started. What will happen is:
- Second group will try to pop balloons of first group. Third group will try to stop this happening and fourth group will probably have no idea what is going on.
- Allow game to continue for a while or until all balloons have popped.
- Bring the group back together to discuss the following:
- What happened? Ask each group to explain what they did and why.
- How did you feel during the game?
- Who did the groups represent? Ask the groups to imagine what each of the groups represented or could represent.
- Encourage reflection on issues of power in relation to child protection.
- Reflect on the definition of ‘abuse’ supplied by the Australian Institute of Family Studies: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/what-child-abuse-and-neglect
- Why are children abused?
- Why do we need to protect them?
- How do power differentials amongst children and communities impact on child protection?
- What can student volunteers do to raise awareness of child protection issues and address the problem? (NB: Facilitators should be able to provide guidelines as per partner organisation / university policies)
- Refer to the Friends International flyer on warning signs about child abuse and child protection and discuss all items.
- Generate awareness that each organization may have their own policies in relation to how volunteers should relate to children. (See video link below: Koto)
The point we want to get to in this context is that the balloons given to the 1stgroup represent children; the 2nd group represent abusers; the 3rd group represent NGOs, etc. trying to protect children; the 4th group represent the general public. In cases of child abuse, the perpetrators will do whatever they can to abuse children, particularly when they are organized and working together. The children have no idea what is happening often and it is a very scary experience. The ‘helpers’ are sometimes overzealous in what they are doing and may forget to tell the children why they are there which adds to the fear. The helpers will be most efficient when they work together and communicate well. The general public will struggle to know what is going on if you don’t make them aware of the issues.