10-year-old Stanley Wilkes visited Uganda last month on behalf of Jessie Younghusband school student council. He spent time with the inspirational ‘Child Rights Clubs’ we support here, who are changing their communities in the slums surrounding Jinja. Now he is back in Chichester, exploring with his friends how they can put what he’s learnt into practice.
Raiyan is 10 years old and a student in a school supported by Children on the Edge in the Rohingya Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. He has learnt a lot since starting school and is now working at level 2. He concentrates hard in his lessons and is naturally very creative. When his teacher tells a story or describes something that has happened to the class, Raiyan immediately starts imagining it.
Not only this, but the children here have been leading transformation since 2017. When we first started working here, we asked the children what needed to change. They took us on a tour of the area and told us about some of the problems they faced. We interviewed many of them, and they created a map of Wandago with sticks, leaves and stones to show us the places that were safe and the places where they felt afraid.
They told us about high levels of child exploitation, that there was little access to education and a lack of healthy jobs due to all the dangerous breweries that dominate the area. One of the main problems they described was how when they went to the well for water alone, many girls had been victims of rape and sexual assault.
In the last few years, the Child Protection Team in Wandago have been working to stop this. They have done regular spot checks at the well, many workshops on child protection and ensured that no-one walks there by themselves. Since this point there have been no attacks.
They have been working on wider issues too, supporting the opening of a new Early Childhood Development Centre, and starting a small loan scheme to create healthy livelihoods and make it possible for parents to send children to school.
The same children who raised their voices about these needs in Wandago are now part of the Child Rights Club, piloted in Loco, but now also active in Masese I and Wandago. They are trained about their rights and work hand in hand with the Child Protection Team.
Babra is the social worker for Children on the Edge Africa. She says,
Children in Wandago are now not only safer, but teaching other children about being safer, delivering regular workshops to hundreds of younger children, and talking to parents about how to clean up the area and make sure children can go to school.
They started the change, and they continue to lead, watch the video above and share the great news about the impact these children are having.