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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Youth for Human Rights in South Africa

    Millions of South Africans have learned about their human rights through the work of Youth for Human Rights South Africa. The 30 Public Service Announcements have aired on big screen televisions in all international airports in South Africa, in major shopping centers and government offices, and on the big screens in movie houses.

    Youth for Human Rights South Africa has worked with many schools to teach the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in at least one such school, the students recite their thirty human rights every morning before class. 
Children of Limpopo Province, South Africa
South African Youth with their What Are Human Rights? booklets
    The National Department of Education's office on Human Rights and Values Education provided a platform for Youth for Human Rights to be showcased to representatives from all nine provinces in South Africa.  

    This afforded them the opportunity to find out about the Youth for Human Rights curriculum and to adopt it as a campaign for their provinces. The Department has acknowledged that hosting workshops for educators and students is of great importance. 
Youth for Human Rights curriculum is presented to
Board of Education in South Africa
    Youth for Human Rights volunteers in South Africa have also worked with arts groups and have emphasized making human rights education fun for children.  

    At a Youth for Human Rights event organized at the Gauteng Province Legislature during the Youth for Human Rights International World Tour 2009, a troupe of young gumboot* dancers and a local drama group performed.
South African gumboot dancers
Young gumboot dancers perform at Youth for Human Rights event
*Gumboot dance: an African dance performed by dancers wearing Wellington boots, protective waterproof boots worn just below knee-high, that was originated in the mines of South Africa by black miners to replace drumming, which was restricted by the authorities.

    Through Youth for Human Rights South Africa's programs, children in rural Bushbuckridge who previously had no understanding or awareness of human rights were exposed to Human Rights Education for the first time. Without this education, such children -- in this case, a number of young girls -- had become victims of abuse.

     With education, one for one they realized that their rights were being abused and as a result, they were able to speak up and alert the adults to the fact that they were on the brink of sexual abuse. Due to Human Rights Education, a good outcome for these girls was obtained. 
Students in S Africa with Dr. Shuttleworth
Youth for Human Right International President
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth with South African students
    In Kwa Zulu Natal, a project was done at a school which had a chronic bullying problem. The school had no solution for it, and students were the victims of abuse and violence as a result. After discussions and talks on human rights and watching the 30 Public Service Announcements DVD, the students and educators decided to handle the problem of bullying and violence in their school.

    Students came forward with apologies and regrets about their behavior, and pledged that the school would be safe and that violence and bullying would be a thing of the past.  
Teaching Human Rights in South Africa
South African students study
Youth for Human Rights materials in class
    Following a workshop introducing the Youth for Human Rights educational materials, one educator said, "Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop. This workshop showed me that human rights are core on which we need to depend for survival. Our survival is the most important aspect that we have. The [Youth for Human Rights] DVD is an important part because it makes us see that it is not just us who can be hurt, but that it happens all over the world."

    Another educator responded, "...I thought I was doing the best that I could when presenting the lesson on human rights, only to find out that I did not have enough information on the topic. I am very grateful for the materials I have received. My eyes and mind are more opened now."
Teaching Human Rights in South Africa
Students in South Africa participate in a
Youth for Human Rights workshop on human rights
YHRI on 'Good Morning Africa'
Youth for Human Rights representative discusses Human Rights Education
on Good Morning Africa television
    250 million viewers were introduced to the Youth for Human Rights educational materials on Good Morning Africa, a continental channel broadcasting to 54 countries across the African continent via DSTV, and into Asia and Europe via the internet.
YHRI interview on Midrand radio
Midrand FM introduces
Youth for Human Rights materials

    The Youth for Human Rights 30 Public Service Announcements videos have been aired for over two years on national channel E-TV and on Soweto TV.

     Midrand FM, Lotus FM, East Wave FM,  Radio Islam International, East Coast Radio, SA FM, Radio Hindvani, Ukhozi FM, Radio Today and many community radio stations have hosted Youth for Human Rights interviews and aired radio 30 Public Service Announcements.

    Take 5, a South African television talk show, hosted a panel discussion featuring youth representing Youth for Human Rights South Africa. They spoke about the importance of human rights and why it is important to educate youth about their human rights.  

    After the panel discussion these youth went on a tour of Soweto and did the same as the boy in the Human Right #29 public service announcement: knocked on doors and read people their rights.

Human Right #29 'Responsibility'

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