Children have the right to participate in all decisions concerning their lives, as stated in art. 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Children are starting to have their own voices, but there is still work to be done. In many countries, not only governments, but parents themselves tend to violate the rights of children—either due to lack of knowledge, established socio-cultural norms or intergenerational differences. When children know their rights and have the confidence to speak up for themselves, they can fight against things like school-beatings and child labor, but also against having their futures decided for them.
This story of hope is about children who were able to stand up for their rights and create immediate change in their schools and personal lives. This was possible due to the efforts of Kingsley, who set up the project Know Your KidsRights: Improving the speaking ability of Children through debating. He conducted a series of trainings, rehearsals and seminars to teach children how to prove and defend their rights. Kingsley wanted children to develop the habit of making personal decisions without the direct influence of adults, in order to ensure their own benefit. You can check out his project here !
In many high schools in Ghana, children are beaten as a way of punishment. Kingsley remarks that in his country, as well as in most parts of Africa, teachers are used to the idea ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ The phrase refers to the belief that if children are not physically punished when they do wrong, their personal development will suffer.
After the training, at least six participants were able to build up confidence and talk to their teachers about implementing non-abusive ways of resolving conflicts between students, rather than beating them. These students were able to change the narrative around beating in their classrooms through confidence and well-grounded dialogue!
Another successful outcome of Kingsley’s efforts is that of a young girl who gained the courage to participate in a radio show and debate about the need for children to decide which profession or career to follow. In Ghana, it is quite common for parents to decide what their child’s career paths will look like and the children are left out of the decision. After appearing on the radio show, listeners were impressed by the young girl’s insights and her parents have agreed to allow her to choose a career that aligns with her own interests.
What amazing achievements! When children know their rights and fight to enforce them, they can better their daily lives all by themselves. Want to be a changemaker in your community?! Check out our website: www.thekidsrightschangemakers.org/en/home