Our all female and non-binary personal development group, Lutadoras has recently reached a new milestone by completing another inspiring and educational journey, this time in the form of the Your Best Friend project campaign, #FriendsCanTell.
The 11-month project was created by the Your Best Friend Fund in order to get young people discussing and developing confidence in recognising and responding to friends who are in toxic relationships.
Fight for Peace Lutadoras, Victoria and Nicole did a brilliant job of planning and delivering 11 monthly workshops, opening up a safe space to explore different themes focused on how to help a friend who may find themselves in a toxic relationship.
To celebrate the success, Nicole and Vicky took the lead in a special podcast episode joined by Asmaa, Fatma, Zaynab and Mariam, to explore and discuss learnings, and how they have put them into practice over the course of the year.
The group kicked off with a light-touch ‘would you rather’ exercise to break the ice, then moved on to identifying some of the themes which they feel most impacted them.
Asmaa shared that for her, seeking support was a key theme, with the session exploring how to go to people when you’re going through issues, how to relate that to friendships, and looking at how we as friends can help make others feel comfortable to seek support from us.
Fatma agreed, expanding on the importance of trying to help a friend who may not be able to help themselves, for example if they are in an abusive relationship and are unable to tell you.
It was clear early on in the episode that there was so much to be taken away from each of the themes, demonstrating the impact of the YBF project itself. The resources available on the YBF website is a great resource, and free for young people to access, giving insight into each of the themes, as well as providing a selection of real-life scenarios for the group to identify some of the red flags that could work as catalysts to toxic relationships or behaviour.
“It’s interesting to see how young some of the girls are [in the stories]. We have younger girls in our workshops, and I think it’s good for them to be exposed to that,” explained Fatma.
“Even if you aren’t going through it yourself, you can pick up the signs if a friend might be struggling.”
These exercises also allowed the group to discuss and share experiences in the workshops and come to understand how they would help someone in that situation. As mentioned by Zaynab, being exposed to a range of different perspectives really helped the group to understand how to approach these situations in a real life scenario.
As well as learning how to better support others, it has been amazing to see the immense growth in skills in other areas among group members. Vicky shared that she has grown as a person in the 11 months of the project, and fellow project lead, Nicole echoed that, as well as adding that she gained other qualities including patience, communication, and organisation in order to plan and deliver the sessions with teammate, Vicky.
While both of them have developed and demonstrated their exceptional leadership skills the group extended a special thank you to Lutadoras mentor and Practice and Professional Standards Manager, Maria as well as the Your Best Friend Fund for helping them execute it.
“Thank you to Maria who guided us in becoming leaders, and becoming our independent selves and understanding the roles we were assigned,” said Nicole.
“Going back to YBF, we appreciate you for giving us the opportunity to do the sessions and plan the sessions and learn so many things,” she continued.
It’s fair to say that the important work covered over the 11 months and its impact cannot be covered in this article, so to avoid any more spoilers the full podcast is now available on the Fight for Peace YouTube channel!
Thank you to all of our Lutadoras for being so open and engaged over the course of the project, and for bringing their authentic selves to every session. Massive well done to Nicole and Vicky for showcasing their leadership skills in delivering a brilliant project, and to Zaynab for covering the sessions via Instagram reels.
Last but not least, we’d like to thank the Your Best Friend Fund for choosing Fight for Peace and our Lutadoras in delivering this brilliant project, and for supporting young people in such a crucial way.