Papillon LOL / Haute-Gaspésie
The Haute-Gaspésie region is often ranked first in terms of poverty and its impact. The stress of poverty and a lack of education can cause family tension and violence, and women are often the ones who pay the price. The Centre Louise-Amélie is a service centre and shelter for women who are victims of domestic abuse. To prevent violence, the centre created the Papillon LOL pilot project for girls aged 11 to 17 in the Haute-Gaspésie region.
They chose the word “LOL,” as this popular Internet slang term means “laugh(ing) out loud” or “lots of laughs.” To broach hard topics like violence, abuse and sexism, Papillon LOL wants to create a series of workshops tailored to the reality of adolescent girls.
During the discussion workshops, a group of six to ten young girls will share a light-hearted meal to make them feel comfortable. The dinners will be run by two staff members from the shelter who are trained in social work and nursing. The discussion topics may vary depending on the group’s interest, what’s in the news, or suggestions from the teens.
The ten workshops will be held outside the school network, as the agency thinks that this will put the girls more at ease to express themselves. They’ll have free rein to talk about any topic: equality between men and women, self-respect, hypersexualization, bullying, jealousy, and more. With these workshops, the centre wants these girls to hone their skills at detecting the warning signs of violence. They also want to deconstruct sexist stereotypes while forging a network of relationships and support between girls who often live far from one another.
Invitations are handed out at schools, clinics, community centres and youth centres in the wider region. A first group will launch shortly in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, but the agency hopes that, with demand, they can increase the groups and adjust the content based on age.
“We wanted to work with the LÉGER FOUNDATION because they believe in equality between men and women. When my co-workers proposed the project name, they said that LOL was also a perfect acronym for the LÉGER FOUNDATION!”
– Monic Caron, Director of the Centre Louise-Amélie.