We are delighted to share a blog written by Wansue (Emma) Choi, a student at Chadwick International School who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 800 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
Over the past 3 years of taking action to solve human rights issues around the world, writing letters to government officials, collecting petitions to free a student activist in Myanmar, and raising awareness of these issues through posters, we wondered the root cause of the lack of respect for human rights in the world despite these rights being codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for over 70 years. From there we noticed how there aren’t enough opportunities for human rights education for children, noticeable from the small number of literature about human rights for children compared to those for adolescents and adults and also how many elementary schools don’t provide lessons on human rights in their curriculum.
This reflection on the ways we could tackle the root cause of the continued infringement of human rights occurring across the world inspired us to create a human rights education program for children because we believe it can become an essential tool to create a more just and peaceful society in the future as it enables children to be aware of their rights and learn to acknowledge others’ rights starting from a young age that resonates with them as adults. We decided to partner with the Songdo International Children’s Library and Chadwick International’s Village School to set up regular classes for human rights education mainly for students’ from grades 3 to 4.
Starting from February, we have had human rights lessons with both the Songdo International Children’s Library and Chadwick International’s Village School. Our workshops focused on new human rights issues every lesson, such as non-discrimination, freedom of expression, and health, and each topic focused on teaching the relevant human rights’ immediate impacts within the students’ daily lives and global implications.
For instance, we had activities ranging from open discussions with the children to persuasive letter writing to the government officials that addresses human rights issues like the hunger in Yemen and the polluted water in the Ogale Community that helped guide students to critically consider how human rights are taken for granted in our lives and their ability to help others meet their basic human rights. From the students demonstrating a growing awareness of their responsibility to protect their own and others’ rights from a young age, we were able to decide with the teachers from the library and the school to have our lessons become an annual workshop for children.
The main skills we developed from participating in the GSL Global Goals Competition are communicative and reflective skills. As we had to create our education material, we had to challenge ourselves to understand the perspective of the children on the level of difficulty of language they would be able to understand and what types of activities and topics they would find most engaging.
We were able to address these challenges throughout our lessons by reading through the comments the students gave us on the surveys we collected after each class and reflecting on the methods we would need to improve for the next classes. Although the challenge of developing the best method for teaching human rights has and will continue to be the biggest challenge we face, I truly believe that our continued reflection, direct communication with the students, and concerted effort to understand what interests and makes sense for the children will enable our lessons to continue to improve.
The Next Chapter
Our team will continue to work collaboratively with the Chadwick International’s Village School and the Songdo International Children’s Library with our annual human rights lessons, and also constantly look for ways to extend our education program wider by looking for opportunities to deliver the sessions with other schools and institutions.
We will continue to update our archive of all the human rights education material we created to ensure that our human rights education program could continue to progress with new members in the future. Also, we recommend for others to join in the effort of educating our future generation’s awareness of human rights.
The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.