The goal of a world where people treat each other with respect and dignity is far from a reality. Within the United States, human rights abuses are clearly evident with police brutality accruing regularly, hate crimes related to religious discrimination on the rise, and hundreds of thousands of American children across the country being sold into slavery via human trafficking. Our only hope? A world reborn through understanding and respect of human rights. And this can only be done through effective education.
Youth for human rights international a non-profit organization based in California is committed to educating people worldwide on their human rights and accompanying responsibilities through the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, assisting and enabling young people to become leaders, advocating for tolerance and peace.
While many other global human rights organizations focus on raising concerns about human rights violations, advancing research and advocating on behalf of the victims of abuse, Youth for Human Rights International complements this work by addressing those issues with educational materials and activities.
“Youth for Human Rights International focuses on preventive actions,” says Erica Rodgers, National Director of Youth for Human Rights International. “While other organizations are working to handle the aftermath of human rights abuses already committed, we are working to prevent the abuses from happening in the first place through broad scale education of the 30 basic human rights.”
At the core of its campaign are the informational “What Are Human Rights?” booklets, introducing youth and adults to the 30 rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, illustrated in simple and clear language. They have been provided free of charge to millions of people and are made available in 27 languages.
The increasing interest of young people in learning their human rights led to the creation of various video messages. Each illustrates an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through scenarios that appeal to anyone, enabling individuals of any age and literacy level to understand and apply this document.
The #OutOfMyPocket movement, a social media campaign launched last year by the National Education Association through which educators are sharing their stories, revealed alarming facts. Shockingly, in the 21st century, public school educators are reaching into their own pockets to pay for school supplies without reimbursement, the average amount spent a year by every teacher is $479. Filling the need for high-quality and effective human rights education, Youth for Human Rights provides educators worldwide with complete Education Packages in 18 languages, free of charge.
Included in each Education Package are the following human rights action tools:
1. The Youth for Human Rights Educator’s Guide – contains lesson plans, enrichment activities, ideas for activating the students on human rights education and a list of specific correlations of the lessons to model education standards. This is a resource for implementing a complete human rights curriculum in your class or school, or can be integrated into an existing curriculum.
2. The Story of Human Rights – a powerful and compelling documentary film that defines human rights by telling the dramatic story of their history and development from earliest times to the present day. It is suitable for all ages and is available in 26 languages.
3. Public Service Announcements (PSAs)– they depict each of the 30 Articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These individual videos portray in real-life terms what each one of the 30 human rights is. They have been airing on TV, in movie theaters and sports stadiums all over the world. They are translated in 17 languages.
4. UNITED music video, a winner of more than a dozen international awards—including “Best Short Film” at the New York International Independent Film Festival. This five-minute, street-savvy, multiethnic video gives a human rights message and advocates nonviolence. Available in 17 languages.
5. The What Are Human Rights? booklet contains a fully illustrated, youth version of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that makes human rights understandable for young people. It is available in packages of 24.
6. A set of 30 posters – highlighting one the 30 human rights to help reinforce human rights education in your school or community centers.
7. Glossary of terms, references to print and online resources.
These are tools that can empower any educator to bring human rights to life for young people through education.
About Youth for Human Rights:
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 whose mission is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and inspire them to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace. Their most recent campaign has included #KnowYour30 with the deliberate purpose of increasing awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which lists the 30 human rights every person has – and how these become interwoven into everyday life.