In the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, there are about 54 articles from which politicians and adults can read about to know how to properly treat children.
The document is all about what children deserve: protection, education, cultural and social development, and freedom.
Article 42 says, “Governments should make the Convention known to adults and children. Adults should help children learn about their rights, too.” These important lines, which could be part of the responsibility of all parents and adults, are also the goal of the Bright Lights Community Learning Centers in barangay Siit and Bonbonon here in Siaton. Making children aware of their rights in a suitable and simple way — that’s what we did the past two Saturdays.
The students aged five to 15 years learned about this important topic, some of which include:
Art. 12/13 — Freedom of expression. People should respect children’s ideas and opinions.
Art. 19 — Parents (or other responsible persons) should ensure a protective environment for children, without any form of violence.
Art. 24 — Children should have access to the best health care possible.
Art. 28 — Every child has the right to education — which should be free.
Art. 31 — Children have the right to play.
Art. 32 — Child labour is not allowed, especially when it harms the children’s health or disrupts their education.
These rights were introduced and discussed with the children at Bright Lights by showing them short but impressive video clips, uploaded on the Internet by the children’s rights organization Unicef.
After the discussion, the students worked in groups to visualize their new knowledge, and design posters that represented their rights.
Such lessons required skills in combining the newly-acquired knowledge with creativity and arts — which was a good preparation exercise for their participation in a collaborative painting competition organized by the Oriental Negros Children’s Advocacy Network, and slated for Feb. 26 at Robinson’s Place.
The Bright Lights Learning Centers also work to comply with other mandates in the Convention like:
Art. 17 — Access to information; mass media. Children have the right to get information that is important to their health and well-being… Children should also have access to children’s books.
Art. 29 — Goals of education. Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents, and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect other’s human rights and their own, and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment, and respect other people. Children have a particular responsibility to respect the rights of their parents, and that education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents.
Art. 31 — Leisure, play and culture. Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic, and other recreational activities.
Knowledge about one’s own rights hopefully improves the child’s self-confidence, shows them that other people are concerned about their well-being, and makes them realize deficits in their own life.
German Development Service
Siaton, Negros Oriental