Do you know that Children’s Rights does not only cover the basic needs for physical protection, food, education and healthcare but also includes things like freedom from discrimination – be it race, gender, religion or disability. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. Awareness and knowledge of the society on these matters are extremely, as our children today will be our leaders in the future.
To build the awareness on children’s right, Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Malaysia (MKKM) organised a Senior Child Advocates Workshop titled “IMAGINE: A WORLD FIT FOR U & ME” in collaboration with StudyHub Malaysia, Digi Telecommunications Malaysia and Taylor’s Education Group here in Taylor’s Lakeside Campus. Held on 12th May 2018, the programme aimed to empower, educate and inspire 35 children between the age of 13 to 24 years old of various backgrounds including refugees, Orang Asli, disabled, underprivileged and 2 Taylor’s students that attended this event to become child advocates.
The programme started off with an ice breaking session followed by an understanding of Children’s Rights. The team activity of categorizing different needs made them realised the basic needs that all children throughout the world should have access to. William, a Taylor’s student shared his sentiments of this session with his new learning of children’s rights, “Today, I learn the rights that every child has. Although we recognize the rights of the child, this isn’t practiced in most communities in Malaysia. Hence, it is really important for us to raise awareness on this”.
This is continued on with some design thinking challenges that pushes the children out of their comfort zone – getting them to work closely as a team and to put all the differences aside. Not only did they learn about planning and facing challenges; but they also learnt the importance of the purpose for everything they do. The “Why Analysis” technique was taught for them to explore the different causes they would want to protect – children have begun to think deeper about their purpose and their potential throughout this programme.
Reiterating their commitment to educate more children and youth in Malaysia on cyberbullying, Digi Telecommunications Malaysia also gave a talk on that topic. To the surprise of the participants, they come to realised that cyberbullying happens every day and usually right underneath our eyes.
Another highlight of the programme was when a participant and also a Taylor’s student, Luke Ting, shared his journey of learning patience and empathy as he was given the opportunity to work with other children with learning disabilities during the programme.
The Project Director of Taylor’s Community, Elena Tong, was also there to give an introduction of impact measurement to the participants. The session was to bring the children to awareness that there must be a success measuring method to the plans they have in the future as child advocates – closing with the design thinking lessons that there must be a value in everything we do.
The programme ended with the excitement of the children’s faces when they learn that they will be writing to Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister – Tun Dr Mahathir. They wrote with a lot of conviction as they shared their thoughts and their dreams in writing. These letters will then be sent to him through UNICEF. Although the programme was tiring, the children went home with a better understanding of their rights and what they could do as children to empower others.