In this part of the project, students will carry out a human rights action project in their own communities. A human rights action project can encompass a wide range of activities: a food drive for the homeless; creating freedom of expression posters to put up in the community; identifying goods produced by child labour and telling the stores and others in the community about them; defending the rights of migrant, or other, workers whose rights may be violated; organizing a letter-writing campaign about a specific issue... Your actions will become part of a global atlas along with actions taken by other students from around the world and be recognized at an event held in December at the UN.
Note the following restrictions:
- the action must be related to human rights, as expressed in at least in one of the 30 artricles in the Universal Declaration;
- the action must be taken within your own community;
- the action must have been taken, or produced results, some time in 1998.
Through this activity, students will learn that:
Once your human rights action is underway or completed, your class/grade/group or school will send a summary back to the UN CyberSchoolBus based on the information requested in the 'submission form'
- they are part of their community;
- they can have an impact on the world around them;
- their own community and local groups within it are vibrant and active;
- human rights are not always respected equally for everyone.
Each report will become part of a global atlas gathered from classrooms around the world. Note that there can only be one submission per class or homeschool. Individual submissions are not accepted.
As simple as that? Well, yes. But what can students do about such issues? The action can be an event or a campaign. (Note: A student conference or a student debate does not qualify as a community action.) Some specific ideas were presented at the beginning of this document. In addition, you might want to contact local civil rights groups, labour unions, advocacy groups or other organizations that deal with human rights issues in order to explore ideas. But what is important is that students come up with their own ideas and plan their own action.
- Begin with a classroom discussion of human rights focusing on rights that the students think might not be fully respected for everyone in the community. For example, students might see that some people in the community are living in extreme poverty such that they do not have enough to eat or that their health is in danger. Make a list of these. Using the above, example, the list could read: hunger or inadequate food for some and inadequate medical care.
- Explain that the students will have to pick one of these and plan an action around the issue. Before picking, they might want to think ahead and/or explore the issue a little more.
- Once they pick one of these issues, ask students to find out which article in the Universal Declaration it corresponds to. Note this as it is information that will be requested in the submission form. In the example from point 1, the corresponding article could be: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services..." Art. 25.
- Now, is the time for action. Choose a name for your project and plan an action, then carry it out.
Once the action project is underway and begins to show some results, the class is ready to submit their form. The deadline for submissions is 4 November 1998.
Note: Northern hemisphere teachers who will be re-starting school around September might want to begin the project very early on in the school year or carry out the project this school year before the summer break. You can send your submission at any time.
Click here to submit your report for part 2
Or here to go to Human Rights in Action, part 1: We Have Rights