Meet Giggles. She came all the way from the planet Zog to help elementary-aged children learn about their rights.
In collaboration with some Royal Roads University faculty, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development has been working to introduce hundreds of children in Victoria, British Columbia to child rights and teaching them what they need to be: themselves, safe, healthy and heard (the 4 families of rights, as spelled out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
Play-based workshops, hosted by our Child Thrive program and facilitated by Elaina Mack, Kathleen Manion and Valeria Cortes, provided children with the opportunity to read stories and play games to illustrate the difference between 'needs and wants', connect rights and responsibilities, increase awareness about children’s rights in Canada and abroad as well as to help children express their opinions on their rights to the Representative for Children and Youth of British Columbia and the Prime Minister of Canada.
The original workshops coincided with child rights education week and Universal Child Day (November 20), but to help children have their voice heard and re-emphasise the importance of rights, Giggles met with the Representative for Children and Youth of British Columbia, Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth to share what she learned. Together, in this video conversation they talked about role of the Representative’s office and the importance of learning about child rights. Just discovering ‘show and tell’ from children at school, Giggles was proud to talk about drawings from students at three elementary schools in Victoria: Oaklands, Sir James Douglas and George Jay.
“Rights are so important because they help us to understand people that are different than us (or monsters that are different from you),” says Charlesworth to Giggles. “They help us to have better relationships with the parents, teachers, and other people in our lives like after school workers and other students. I think that when children tell people about their rights, it helps us all to become better able to take care of our communities and our families.”
The participating children were thrilled to see their drawings shared and to meet with the Representative’s staff, Brianna Dick and Scott Guffey in further workshops in January. When we asked the children about the video, one 6-year old told us that: “it’s important for me to learn about my rights so that I can be safe, happy and have love in my heart.”
For more information about Child Thrive, please contact Elaina Mack. Visit the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth of British Columbia to learn more about their work to support our province’s young people and their families in dealing with the provincial child and youth welfare system.