//static.getclicky.com/js

Halton students heard one of the best speakers in the country talk to them about the Rights of Children

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are times when having to do something ‘virtually’ turns out to be a plus.

The Halton District School Board held their second Symposium on the Rights of the Child.  It came very close to being cancelled after more than a year of work that looked like it was going to be laid to rest by COVID.

They had a fabulous speaker lined up and were looking forward to a good turn out.

That was in March of last year – and of course things changed for everyone.

The Halton Director of Education, Stuart Miller said that it looked as if the event would have to be cancelled but senior staff and the Director took a closer look at what they were up against and realized that if they web cast the event through their Facebook page they would draw much more than the 250 + they got in 2019.

They certainly got much more than the 250 +  –  there were 3400 people logged into the Facebook page. Stewart points out that many of those log-ins were from a classroom that would have had 15 to 20 students taking part.  There could have been 5000 students listening.

Stephen Lewis

One of the strongest speakers in Canada, Stephen Lewis addressed thousands of Halton students virtually on Friday about the Right of the Child.

They were fortunate to have one of the great Canadian orators and a very passionate advocate for social justice in this country.  Stephen Lewis, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the holder of 42 honorary Doctorates, is a living legend.

Hearing Lewis speak when he is really passionate about his subject is something one never forgets.

Lewis led students and community partners in a day long program focused on children’s rights.  “I spent a large chunk of my life” said Lewis, “dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“When I worked with UNICEF, I was responsible for travelling around the world to persuade governments to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and take all of its clauses seriously. The Convention provides a tremendous range of rights for children, all of which I hope to be addressing before you.”

Lewis was joined by Michel Chikwanine, now a motivational speaker, author and human rights activist based in Toronto and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chikwanine is more than a child advocate. When he was not much more than a young boy he was kidnapped from the soccer field outside his school in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he and his childhood friends were “recruited” to be rebel soldiers.

Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine: Kidnapped as a young boy and forced to serve as a child warrior

Chikwanine is a compelling speaker. People find themselves riveted to their seats when he speaks.

At the end of what was a very full day the Students were to create a Call to Action, a document that would set out what they wanted to do about improving the Rights of the Child.

Superintendent Rob Eatough will be responsible for overseeing the development of these Calls to Action.

Tomorrow the Gazette will publish interviews with some of the students who took part in the event.

 

 

Return to the Front page