Children’s Rights Young Ambassadors Summer School
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, children often face violence within their family or school environment. Such experiences can have detrimental effects on their mental and emotional well-being. However, we can take steps to ensure that at least schools provide a safe and supportive space for every student, where they feel respected and protected. This can go a long way in preventing further harm and promoting healthy development.
With that in mind, the international organization Hope for Children CRC Policy Center launched an educational program for young children’s rights ambassadors with the support of the Dashin Foundation. The program began on July 3 and aimed to prevent violence among school students by educating children from different backgrounds about their rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The program also intended to highlight young people’s current issues, where their rights are violated. Secondary school students came together to explore topics such as cyberbullying, school bullying, racism, acceptance and uniqueness of diversity, hate speech against socially vulnerable groups, and gender-based violence. In this way, they could understand how these issues affect them and what they can do to exercise their rights as young people and stop any violations from happening.
The school program was held for four weeks, two weeks in Nicosia and two weeks in Limassol. It was attended by 35 teenagers from various nationalities, ranging from ages 12 to 18. Students from a special unit of one of the city lyceums also participated. In Limassol, the program included creative master classes led by Angela Chalkiopoulou, an expert in innovative education. The topics covered included empathy, inclusion, empowerment, worldview, and acceptance of one’s uniqueness and value.
Through this program, participants had the chance to enhance various skills such as leadership, communication, organization, critical thinking, and professionalism. At the end of the summer program, all the children will have the opportunity to join the large peer support family of the young ambassadors of the organization. That will enable them to become productive citizens and actively shape a positive school and social environment.
Providing a healthy atmosphere for children to grow and develop is essential. Bullying, discrimination, and violence can harm their emotional and psychological well-being. We believe that everyone, regardless of gender, nationality, or religion, deserves respect and equal opportunities. We aim to establish a safe and tolerant society where children can freely express themselves and grow with a sense of security. As adults, we should lead by example and demonstrate kindness, respect, and tolerance to children. We can support them by listening and helping them develop their emotional intelligence and conflict-resolution skills.