Rights of the Child … and the arts

We know the value and many benefits of art and drama for developing creative thinking,  enhancing education, for wellbeing, for community development.   Taking the arts into International Community development  offers many possibilities to communities and aid organisations and other non-government organisations to assist development in ways that are enjoyable as well as very effective.

There is a deep understanding now of how arts participation and working with artists can benefit individuals and communities.   We look to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as one document that underpins our philosophy of working in and with vulnerable communities.   It sets out with clarity a range of emotional, practical,  human rights and political needs that a child has a right to expect from those who are charged to look after them.

Some of the Articles that we consider as part of our work are :

 

article 13

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

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article 29

Education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full. It should encourage children to respect their parents, their cultures and other cultures.

We use the arts as our way of helping and encouraging students in their education. For many of the children with whom we work, access to education can be very limited, their education is spasmodic; schools are very often without books, paper, writing materials, or the power to use the computers they may have; their teachers are often unsupported without access to on-going professional development training.

Our projects aim to widen students’ vision and encourage them to take every opportunity to learn. We introduce students to cultures of the world through the art we show and teach them about. In this picture, students have been inspired by the X-Ray paintings of the Australian First Nation.

Design

In the picture we use on our MAKE DO TELL campaign and the sketch with the paintbrush below, students have been relating to German artist, Paul Klee.

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article 31

Children have the right to relax, play and to  join in a wide range of leisure activities.

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article 39 :

Children who have been neglected or abused should receive special help to restore their self-respect.

Many of the children with whom we work have been neglected and or abused.  Art and Drama are superb at restoring self-respect in children as well as adults. These are the places to explore and express, to discover and reveal the inner person, to give and receive praise, to enable a person to discover that they are talented, worthy, able.

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The third Millennium Development Goals is to PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN and since 2012, the United Nations marks 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’. The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the world.

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Women and girls experience widespread discrimination in both Nepal and India.   Artists in Community International work consciously and conscientiously  to promote and demonstrate equality in our programs.   We do this first by role-modelling our own equality as a female and male artist working together.  Each of us take leadership roles and each of us support the other when they are in the leadership role.  We do this by encouraging girls in their creative practice and to strive to do their best;  we do this by encouraging boys to give space to the girls by not dominating the space or materials.   We insist that both girls and boys give full attention to each other during performances.

 

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