UNCRC25: Spreading the message of child rights-- by Khawaja Yasir, Advocacy & Campaigns Officer
On one morning of 18 November 2014, I arrived at the assembly hall of a school to be part of an orientation session organized by Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign and Child Rights Governance teams on the state of child rights in Pakistan in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the UN CRC. Eighteen children from five different schools had been identified to take part in the orientation session.
The children were divided into two groups. They expressed their views through a number of activities one of which was a drawing competition where they had to draw a child and highlight his/ her rights. I found myself not only impressed by the children’s enthusiasm to learn but also their teachers’ zeal for supporting these children in this session.
I asked 10 year old Hira about her participation in the session and what she expected from the session. She astutely replied, “I want to know my rights.” When I asked her what she had learnt so far, she said, “I have the right to survival and the right to play.” She added, “I will share these lessons with my family, especially my two youngest sisters and my elder brother so they know about their rights.”
Saima Haider, a teacher from a government elementary school in Rawalpindi shared that: “Child participation has been a subject that has been quite neglected especially in government schools …I have been associated with Pakistan’s education department for the past 10 years but unfortunately even I don’t know anything about the UN CRC, and its guiding principles …It was indeed a great opportunity for me to mix with my children and gain new information on the subject matter.”
At the end of the session, the two groups enthusiastically presented their group work. These presentations were followed by an interactive question and answer session. The trainers appreciated the children for their work and thanked the teachers for their support.