What changes can children make?
Over the years all our partners have produced many examples of the lasting and effective change that can be achieved when children’s understanding of their own lives, their energy and creativity are allowed to flourish. These may be positive changes in children’s own relationships at home or at school. Some partners have also worked together with children to achieve changes in government policy.
Changes at any level are of equal value. What is more, the experience of taking part in such changes, in itself, boosts a child’s quality of life.
If children are living in poverty or are witnessing and experiencing violence on a regular basis, their focus is on their day-to-day survival; they are often not aware of their rights and are not able to think about their future and plan for it.
This is why the first changes that our partners support children to make are almost always personal ones. They help children to understand that they have value and they help them explore their interests and skills so that they can begin planning a more positive future. By building their self-esteem and developing their understanding of their rights, our partners help young people transform their way of thinking about themselves.
We have seen that as children grow in confidence, they often begin to encourage their friends, family, neighbours or teachers to make changes that can make their homes and their communities better places to live. These small changes add up.
Children can also be inspired by the projects to share what they have learned there in school, with both their peers and teachers.
Some young people might be interested in being community leaders, or positive role models in their community.
Children can also work with local government and non-governmental institutions to push for change.
Other children are taking their demands for change to national government and even to the international arena.