The arrow of time usually heads for the future, but Decide makes wonders in order to turn it back to past. And that’s just what we are doing reporting the Austrian Science Center Netzwerk’s chain of experiences within the realm of trouble. In one of the previous inspiring stories we have reported their last experience who took place inside an adult prison. Few weeks before that, though, they had paid a visit to a youth penitentiary always together with Aids Help Wien, an Austrian association deeply involved in communication about Hiv.
This time they played the Hiv kit with 6 prisoners whose ages were between 14 and 16. Barbara Streicher from Science Centre Netzwerk and Frank Amort from the Aids Help Wien crew didn’t know the reason why there had been arrested but, unlike the adults, these young players were very silent in the beginning and developed their interest only in the course of the game. It might sound weird, but these young prisoners used to be invited to a kind of school programme they didn’t have to strictly attend. Despite of it, they were quite likely to attend most of the lesson everyday, having not much else to do. Then, that day Decide came along as a sort of class…
… and eventually the pupils’ teacher, who was present but silently withdrawn in a dark corner, reported Barbara he was definitely astonished because he had never seen his pupils so focused for one hour and a half. A solid gold feedback for the facilitators and for the game itself which slowly caught their attention and got very interesting.
From the silent start when some of the players were not interested in it at all, the game somehow plunged in deep discussions and involved the pupils, especially during the last stage in which players were asked to rate the right punishment for every card character. In that very minute they were looking at themselves in the mirror and, at they same time, playing as judges. Was their current situation deserved? Whatever was the answer they gave themselves, the topic caught them all.
These young Decide players were really urged by the game to reflect on their own situation, abstracting the topic of Hiv transmission to their own (to us unknown) experience with legal issues.“A truly and completely different experience for everyone with the Hiv kit”, Barbara states. With regard to this successful story, half merit badge must be put down to the crew of Aids Help Wien who are keen to deal with youngsters and anytime they play Decide give condoms away to raise the pupils’ level of awareness.
And you know what? Now, after having supported the Hiv sessions of Decide run by Science Centre Netzwerk for a couple of years, Aids Help Wien are playing our game on their own to achieve their purposes. Isn’t this a brilliant way to make the spirit of Decide proliferate?