Amnesty International India sensitizes young minds on human rights

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 13 Januari 2014 | 07.20

MANGALORE: If the world lets go of such atrocities and if people do not actually learn to stand up and act, I fear one day my home may also be faced with similar horror and no matter how much I beg and cry for help, it may not come,'' said Mathhew Arnold Mata, 16, from Legacy School, Bangalore.

This was the student's reaction when he was shown the plight of civil rights activist Irom Sharmila, in an effort by Amnesty International India to bring Human Rights Education programme into the classrooms.

The organisation, in its pilot phase, has engaged with 27 schools in Bangalore city, with an aim to help them integrate human rights values and principles into their daily school life.

Tara Rao, Director of Amnesty International India says the programme works with different kinds of schools - government, top end private schools, low budget private schools, private schools in slum areas etc. These schools have gone through a self-assessment process where they have assessed their human rights friendliness. They have then built vision statements and action plans for themselves,'' she said.

This exercise is done in the four areas of school life - Curricular and Co-curricular activities, School Environment, School Relationships and School Governance, which constitutes a whole school approach.

The Human Rights Education team interacts with teachers and management equipping them with activities and tools to implement their action plans and take it forward with their students. Some of the activities that schools have been working on are building student leadership through Student Councils, working on relationships issues in the school such as bullying or bringing awareness among students about issues such as right to housing and how it applies to their lives.

Tara points out that one example of how schools have been active in taking up Human Rights issues is through the recent Letter Writing Marathon which was conducted in schools where students wrote letters of solidarity to Irom Sharmila who has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International India.

Based on the learning's from this pilot, we are now looking to scale up this programme with schools across India. We are looking to collaborate with organisations and chains of schools on integrating this programme into their approach and activities,'' she added.


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