Girls studying at home
STEP 1: The Rights of the Child in your country

It is important to know one’s own rights to be able to respect the equal worth and rights of others. The aim of this step is to provide knowledge about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and how it is connected to their everyday lives, communities and countries.

Explore everyday life
Explore and discuss how children are treated in your local community. Are some children treated worse than others? Are some discrimina­ted against because of a disability, because they belong to a particular ethnic group or simply because they are girls? Are children bullied at school? Are children mistreated at home?

   Use the basic principles of the UNCRC as your starting point:

- All children are equal and have the same rights.
- Every child has the right to have his or her basic needs fulfilled.
- Every child has the right to protection from abuse and exploitation.
- Every child has the right to express his or her opinion and to be respected.

work in groups or pairs and discuss the situation for children in their communities, for example, with regard to the right to:
- To safety and a good home.
- To get to be themselves.
- To express themselves.
- To play and rest.
- To education.
- To good health.
- To equal opportunities.
Everyone presents their conclusions. If children’s rights are being violated, are there any specific suggestions for possible solutions?

Rights & responsibilities
With rights come responsibilities. Some of those are:
- To listen to and respect other people’s points of view.
- To stand up for our rights and the rights of others.
- To think about our actions and that they can have consequences for others.
- To care about people who need more support and care than ourselves.

Can the students think of other responsibilities that they might have? What happens if people don’t take responsibility? Let them work in pairs or small groups.

Study the basics of democracy
Let your students study the history of democracy, and discuss how it works in practice in their everyday lives and in your country. Can they make their voices heard?

Initial questions
When getting children to think about the rights of the child in their own lives and their country it can be useful to start with some of the questions below, for them to consider individually and discuss with others.

• What is the best thing about being a child?
• What is the worst thing about being a child?
• What are you most afraid of?
• What would you like to change about your life right now?
• What is the best thing about being a child in your community?
• What is the worst thing about being a child in your community?
• Do you think it is particularly difficult for some groups of children? If so, how? Why do you think that is?
• What do you think is the most important thing to change for children in your country?
• Do you think that you have enough say about your life? Do you get to be involved in decisions that affect you?
• Do adults listen to you enough, for example, teachers, politicians and/or parents?

Imagine if your students...
... could book a meeting with local leaders and ask whether they always put children first when they make decisions that concern them, as the UNCRC says they should.
... could generate interest in the rights of the child, for example, by organising public debates and contacting local media.

Resources
- More information on the UNCRC here

 
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