Right To Play/International/news and media

We’ve talked and shared many, many stories with our supporters about what Right To Play does to help children succeed. On International Children’s Rights Day, we’re featuring children that are leading their classrooms and communities to change the way their schools and communities think about children’s rights and protection!

Right To Play staff have encouraged teachers and community leaders to get their students involved in “Child Protection Clubs” and let the students take action themselves. It’s a recent shift, but it’s a guiding idea behind the Child Protection Policy at Right To Play: getting the children involved and active in driving change.

The students of Kanyundo Primary School in Rwanda are not only driving change in their school, but neighbouring schools and the community too!

The President of the Child Protection Club, Ngabo Denis (a pupil in the fifth level – P5) experienced resistance when trying to reach out to the parents of the indigenous groups of the area about their children’s rights to education. “Their parents chased us away every time we went there to talk to them. We never felt discouraged and our dedication allowed us to tell them about the importance of education and Child Rights.” The club finally understood the reason behind the lack of attendance among children of the indigenous groups in Rubavu, Rwanda – money.

“[The parents] told us that they understood, but they could not find the money to provide school uniforms, materials and shoes with their children.”

Despite this, the club managed to bring in 25 children (15 of them girls) to school through fundraising and community outreach activities with adult supervision. The club dedicated their time to the children at school to help them feel welcomed and comfortable in their classes, and have positive learning experiences.

Another Child Protection club in a primary school in Ouidah, Kenya is leading the same action to keep their fellow pupils in school. Sémé Tohokpa Primary School experiences frequent absences from many of its students for many reasons such as financial pressure or a lack of awareness on the importance of education. For some parents, children are simply needed to help them earn their living. Girls may experience this more than their brothers, as they may be expected to help their mothers who sell goods at the local market and help with child rearing.

In one particular case, the Child Protection club at Sémé Tohokpa Primary, made of seven peer-elected students for one year, helped keep three students in class simply because they reached out to the kids and their parents. Part of their strategy is to notice who of their fellow classmates missed school repeatedly. They then reach out on a peer level (with teacher supervision) to see what the issue is. In one particular case, three students consistently missed school due to a lack of funds for school supplies.

The club then reached out to the community and local organizations to raise the money and help the students attend school. They successfully raised enough to ensure all three will attend for the rest of the year.

In both cases, the children had the opportunity to identify child rights challenges and took the initiative to drive change with the adults – something that empowers children to protect their own and their peers rights to education and reach their fullest potential!