By the shores of the deep blue Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tian Shan Mountains in north-eastern Kyrgyzstan, the sound of happy adolescent laughter echoes across the normally tranquil Sinegorye resort. In July 2014, more than 40 students and several teachers from seven regions of Kyrgyzstan gathered there to learn skills and deepen their knowledge of gender equality and the empowerment of girls.
Dilshat Mashanlo, 17, from Yusuf Hazret Secondary School, shared his reflections: “We had never thought that violence could affect a country’s economy; this information was shocking. We have changed a lot during the last four days. If you had compared us before and after training, you would see a huge difference in our perception of violence and our willingness to take action where we see or face it.” Dilshat is now planning to create an informal male club to promote gender equality in his community.