We have the right to be heard! : VOICES Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network Garbage Bag Fashion Show
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states: When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinion taken into account.
Why a Garbage bag Fashion Show? Because Youth in Care want you to know that sometimes the way they are treated sometimes makes them feel like garbage. Youth in Care are often moved very quickly from home to home, or from home into independent life. More often than not, all their belongings are stuffed into garbage bags. This can even happen while they are at school and then someone announces: “You’ve moved! “. The Leadership Team of VOICES, Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network, organized a fashion show as a way to share these issues with the public and transform those garbage bags into something beautiful. With support from Equitas, VOICES youth engaged in 7 weeks of creative workshops using the Speaking Rights Program exploring the issue that youth in and from care have the right to be heard and to express their opinions on issues affecting them. They explored ideas around the fact “that it can be hard to express yourself or feel heard by others. But there are many ways that can youth express themselves, such as through art, music, poetry, drawing, and photography!” More than 70 community members, including many Child Welfare professionals, some of whom also served as models, attended the fashion show which was a culmination of these workshops. Cherish, the MC for the event, reminded the enthusiastic audience that: “ A lot of care and attention went into creating these garbage bag garments. All we ask is that as much care and attention be put into the transition of youth in care from home to home or from a foster home to independent living. We want the time to pack our belongings in proper bags and say our goodbyes. Youth in care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” The youth expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to be able to tell people about the issues that youth in care face. One youth commented that: “When they show up, it shows people care. (The project) was about the right to be heard and I think people were listening.”