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International Youth Day – Human rights values in action!

Every year, as International Youth Day (August 12th) approaches, Equitas takes this opportunity to invite its partners to celebrate the day by playing games from the Play it Fair! toolkit, which provides interactive activities for children and encourages reflection on cooperation, respect, inclusion, acceptance, respect for diversity, responsibility and equity. Furthermore, it is also an opportunity for us, as an organisation, to reflect upon the effects of our activities, on human and children’s rights, and on the ways we promote these rights in our work environment and in our everyday lives. To stimulate reflection, why not play Equitas games ourselves! Last Tuesday, we invited all of Equitas staff to play Draw It Right!, an activity that aims to make children more conscious of their rights, all the while using encouraging participation. Since the staff is already well informed on children’s rights, we steered the discussion and the drawings on the ways in which the Play It Fair! toolkit’s seven values are present in our environment. Here is what stood out from our discussions : Inclusion: By recognizing that everyone is a part of our society, our community and our organization, we can accept people no matter their differences. Responsibility: Responsibility is essential in order for rights to be respected. It is necessary to be ready to accept the consequences of our actions, and inactions! Acceptance: Acceptance necessitates that we be open-minded and –hearted, and that we act towards the full participation of each and every person Respect for Diversity: It entails recognizing the distinctiveness of every person, and to cherish it, adding value to the group! Cooperation: Hand in hand, thanks to our partners, our networks, to good communications, in a spirit of solidarity and humility, we work together and find solutions that suit everyone. Fairness: Giving everyone, young and old, women and men, of all origins and religions, the same importance, opportunities and rights, because we all live together on the same planet Respect: Both respect for oneself and respect for others, because the respect that we show ourselves radiates to others. It is not a right that we acquire, but that belongs to all.   This great activity allowed us to deepen our reflections on the impact of these values. How to put them in action? Here are a few ideas : By sharing our ideas and talents through a collective and significant project; By treating everyone with dignity; By making sure that everyone has equal access to activities, services, and opportunities, with no distinctions for sex, style, age, sexual orientation, etc.; By finding ways to include in a group, organization or community any person that is different, in order to make difference a strength and not a reason to exclude others By according a positive value to differences, instead of stigmatising them, in order for us to be proud of who we are. These are some small gestures that promote human rights values! And you, what will you do to highlight the importance of children’s rights?   – Élise Voyer<

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