YOUTH FOR HUMAN RIGHTS SPOTLIGHTED.
Encouraging Human Rights Education, NCHRO – Goa Chapter Initiative.
Youths, who make up more than 30 percent of our population, are true agents of change and the driving force for building just, peaceful and resilient societies. Empowering youth to engage in societal change, developing their capacity for critical thinking enables them to better exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms and support the skills needed to become productive and responsible citizens. A receptive audience for solid learning about human rights needs to be cultivated with planning, and follow-up.
Unless challenged, most people assume they know about human rights because they hear the words daily in the media. However, most of us understanding of the conceptual, legal, historical, and ethical bases of human rights are usually very superficial.
The NCHRO Goa Chapter’s innovative approach to Human Rights Education, highlighting the impact leading to a real change in society, starting from youth. A six-month plan to reach out to colleges followed by an All Goa Seminar for Youth on Human Rights Day December, 2019 was created.
As part of the plan six colleges were covered.
1) Multipurpose College, in Borda, Margao.
2) Fr. Agnel Junior College, Pilar.
3) Damodar College, Margao.
4) Chowgle College, Borda.
5) Khare College, Margao.
6) Carmel College, Nuvem.
The sessions were conducted by Joan Rebello, Lydia Menon, Ranjan Solomon, Fr.Savio Fernandes, Ifthiyaz Saeed and Deepika D’Souza in co-ordination with the teachers of the relevant colleges.
In each college the sessions were conducted over a 2 hour period, with half an hour being kept for the presentation. After which the students were broken up into groups of 5-10. Each group was given a newspaper of magazine and asked to choose one human rights violation from it and discuss it in their group. Each group was asked to discuss what human right/s was violated, why and what could be done for the aggrieved party. After which each group had to select one person to record and one person to present the discussions of the group.
The discussions even though they were done on the spot and without prior preparation were really provocative and showed the ability of the students understand and present the facts. It also showed that inspite of the concept – human rights being new to most, the students were very responsive and attentive. In many colleges, the teachers of the students were surprised to see their participation and level of involvement.
Students picked up very interesting topics. In Chowgule’s they discussed the right to die in dignity and euthanasia. In all colleges the issue of Lynching and Gender Justice were discussed especially the Unao Case. In Goa the issue of Goa Miles Taxis also drew interesting debates with the rights of the local taxi drivers being pitted against the right to safe and cheap travel.
- Our participatory methodology of a short presentation followed by group discussions and student presentations worked well and was received well by the students. It is a method that can be replicated especially with young people who do not like to constantly hear a lecture but prefer something hands on.
- Further using multimedia too by incorporating a video in the presentation helped give a good understanding of what human rights are, how did they evolve and why is it relevant.
- We found where students were left to choose whether they wanted to attend or not by the college, got the best response.
- Attempt was made to reach out to colleges with underprivileged students and the law college students.
- In each college we requested for a group size of 40-60 students so we could make the sessions participatory.
After this initial round of awareness sessions, from each college a group of five to six students are being invited to form a core team of students who will assist NCHRO to organize the December 10, 2019 all Goa Youth Seminar.
These students will be invited to make a presentation in whatever form they choose – a paper, play, song, video for the Seminar as well as to help in mobilizing students from other colleges. Collaborate with students to create and modify human rights lessons and activities for their own settings and contexts.
Few people will seek out to request human rights education. Individuals and organizations that want to educate and build human rights awareness must systematically take the initiative to reach out to audiences. NCHRO believes Education works best along with a strong proactive strategy to prevent and remove barriers to equal participation, and effective policies and procedures for addressing human rights issues.