The world of children

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The World of Children


Foreword The Children and Youth Programme (CYP) is a partnership between the two UNESCO Chairs at the University of Ulster and the National University of Ireland at Galway (NUIG). The CYP is an independent monitoring programme on the well-being of children and youth in Ireland and Northern Ireland using a rights-based approach. This approach has informed and guided the work of the Programme and has been a defining feature of its outputs over the past two years. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most important international human rights instrument on the rights of children, ratified by the United Kingdom in 1991 and by the Irish Government in 1992. A key feature of any rights-based programme is to ensure that the voice of children is present in matters affecting them. Over the past few months, the CYP has worked collaboratively with Kids’ Own in the development of The World of Children. As one of Ireland’s leading children’s arts organisations, Kids’ Own adopts a distinctly rights-based approach, building on 15 years’ experience of working collaboratively with children and young people to develop their own culture-specific books and resources. This unique brand of publishing empowers children to have a voice linguistically and culturally where they can be seen, heard and involved in designing and defining their most important concerns. In developing this book, we looked to the four General Principles which underpin the rights set out in the CRC: • • • •

The principle of non-discrimination (Article 2) The best interests of the child as a primary consideration (Article 3) The right of the child to life, survival and development (Article 6) Due weight be given to the voice of the child (Article 12)

Building on the General Principles, children were asked four questions: • • • •

Why are children important? What’s important to children? Who are children important to? Who should listen to children?

Kids’ Own is delighted to have partnered with the UNESCO Centre, Children and Youth Programme to publish this new book, made by children in Sligo and Fermanagh. This book is a reflection of a process that we undertook with children (aged 8-12), which sought to creatively investigate children’s lives and rights. What followed were a series of conversations with the young people around themes, framed by the four questions based on the General Principles of the UNCRC and a series of workshops through which the young people could develop art work and written text that reflected their diversity of thoughts and ideas. This book represents the true voices of these children who took part in this exciting project. We believe that there are some very important key messages within this book, and we hope to have an opportunity to investigate some of these ideas in more depth with children in the future.We hope that this book reflects the fantastic creative and imaginative abilities of all children, and that you enjoy reading it. Kids’ Own would like to thank all the children involved in making this book. Helena Cameron, Niamh Daly, Cormac Duffy, Jonathan Duffy, Amy Gilleece, Patrick Haren, Róisín Hehir, Aaron Jones, Sarah-Jane Jones, Stephanie Jones, Rachel McBrien, Rían Mc Govern, Roisin McHugh, Ronan McHugh, Clara Jane Whitley, Ellen Armstrong, Ciarán Collum, Shania Farrell, Lauren French, Amy Keenan O’Hara, Rory Kelly, Alana Lenehan Brennan, Danielle Mahon, Amelia Majchrowska, Emma Mc Caffrey, Marc McDonagh, Craig Mc Loughlin, Lauryn Mc Loughlin, Ethan McMorrow, Ruth Monaghan, Aisling Mullen, Khalid Orang, Cyrelle Torreflores, Diego Colburn, Justin Gelhins. We would like to thank Marguerite Stenson, Principal, Our lady of Mercy Primary School, Sligo and Eileen McKenzie McGourty, Principal, Killyhommon Primary School, Belleek, Co. Fermanagh. A special thank you to Una O’Connor Bones and Celia Keenaghan and all at the UNESCO Centre, Children and Youth Programme for their vision and support throughout this programme. Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership is the only dedicated publisher of books by children for children in Ireland and Northern Ireland. To find out more about us visit You can contact us about this book or any of our other titles at Carrigeens, Ballinful, County Sligo. You can email us at or phone 00353 71 91 24945.

Through using small group discussions to answer these questions, the children were able to freely express themselves whilst being involved in a rich arts experience that enhanced their capacity for learning. In the art workshops, emphasis was placed on the thoughts and experiences of the children, giving them space to identify the themes they would like to see in the book. This approach demonstrated that each child has the right and the ability to make a real contribution to processes that affect them. In the development of The World of Children, all of the writing and artwork, including the design and layout has been created by the children themselves, working alongside the artist and writer. We hope that The World of Children contributes to children’s voice of how they experience their rights, and that it provides some insight into further areas of exploration. Dr Una O’Connor Bones Director, Children and Youth Programme



We hope you enjoy this book.

. . . u o Y k E njoy!! n a h T 3

What’s important to children? A family is people who love you and families keep us safe

My family is really important to me. They do a lot for me like buy me stuff and give me food. They give me a home and clothes. Marc My house is important because it’s where I sleep, I eat and I get dressed. My Mum, Dad, my sister, brother and myself all live there. It’s important for children to have a home because if you didn’t have a home you’d be on the street. Some children in the world don’t have a home. It should be every child’s right to have a home. Danielle


There would be no families without children


When Christmas comes we go to church and we get presents and we kind of pray. We also pray in our house and get to open the presents. We love the Christmas tree and at night time we go out singing carols. We go and visit Granny and get her loads of presents because Granddad died. My sister gives me presents as well. The whole family, like aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews get together. We have lovely food and drinks. Alana



We have to be safe

A house is a building and a home is a place. I feel relaxed when I’m at home. We have to be safe. Amy

If you didn’t have a home, you’d have nowhere to sleep. You’d be homeless. Children would be cranky in the morning if they didn’t have a bed. I feel comfortable, chilled and peaceful when I’m at home. Sarah-Jane



self-confidence Being proud of yourself is important because then you can achieve something.

We are important because we are individual Children are the future and without them there would be no adults

Maybe children can achieve their dreams by believing in their rights, and their dreams can come true. Children’s rights include having a say, by writing this book our voices can be heard. There are many children in the world without a voice, and who don’t have their rights. We hope our book will help them. Ellen

Parents should be positive Imagine a playground with no children… Look carefully and you’ll see us hiding. Shania

Children are able to achieve things that adults can’t like get a better education. Amelia

There would be no one in the world without children




Love We all need water and we all need somewhere warm to sleep. Pets are important because they’re our pets and we love them. We love them because they make our life fun and they brighten up our spirits. They make your family a full family. They make us smile when they do something bad. Our family comes first, then pets come second. We know pets have feelings because our dogs cry. Humans need looking after too. That’s why we have a family. We care about them because they’re part of the environment of the world. They’re important to us too because they make the world more prettier. Animals and children are similar because we need the same stuff like we all need exercise and we all need looking after and we all need food and we all need water and we all need somewhere warm to sleep. Rachel and Niamh

Life is better with technology X-box Wii DS Computers TVs iPads phones

Technology is important because it’s fun to play on. We need technology because you can buy stuff on the internet. There’s more technology than there used to be. You can do better things. You can talk to people on it, which is good. You wouldn’t have anything without technology. We still go out and play. In the future maybe we could breathe under water with technology. There’s always new stuff coming out. Life is better with technology. Patrick and Jonathan



Imagination fly away to a whole new world

Wellbeing My happiest time is when I am reading For some children their whole life is books, books, books. You can find out stuff if you have to do a project on Egypt or somewhere, by going to the library. My happiest time is when I’m reading. Cyrelle

Children love animals and take responsibility for them by caring and looking after them. Animals are very loveable and that’s the reward. They give back love. Because of animals children might want to become vets. Children love learning about nature. Emma



Sport We love sport It makes you healthy and helps your heart. You live longer. If you do warm ups you’ve got a good chance of not getting hurt. Healthy means being fit. Ronan

You a m feel ha hea atch yo ppy an r bec t and u feel d ener a y aus g Aar e it’ our b ll hap etic. A o p s on nes t y fun . I . Hea the en . cho lthy do ose f to d is your o sp ort



If you didn’t have a goal you wouldn’t achieve anything Children can achieve things. I won the under tens. If you have children you can tell them about your achievements. I felt really happy when we won the under tens and I felt excited. I wanted to tell people that we won it so they’d know we were the best team in Fermanagh. I’d like to keep achieving in football. My goal is to win under 12s this year and under 14s next year. If you didn’t have a goal you wouldn’t win anything and you wouldn’t achieve anything. You’d feel sad if you never won anything. Rian




Because of children there’s a man on the moon It’s good to celebrate growing up Children can achieve things that adults can’t like run fast and learn new things. They can imagine so many things that adults can’t. Children can make up brilliant stories and they are very creative. Khalid

What is important to children? Birthdays. It’s good to celebrate growing up, having a different age and being grown up and able to go places on your own. We love getting cake and sweets and you play around with your friends and have lots of fun. Rory

Having fun is important to us

Children put a man on the moon by using their imagination. A child’s life is all about imagination. Craig

Christmas and Santa can bring you together with your family. So if some members of your family live in different counties or countries you get to see them on special occasions. If parents can’t afford it, Santa can bring it. Ciaran

A child’s imagination helps them learn, they wonder about stuff, ask questions and find the answers. 16


Why are children important? there would be no happiness without children Without children there’d be no happiness and no fun. You’d have no-one to say ‘I love you’. Your children always say ‘I love you’ and give you hugs. It means a lot to them (to have someone to say ‘I love you’).

Why do children bring happiness? because they are loving... We’re the ones that bring fun. We know how to make better games than adults. When they’re down we can cheer them up. We do something that they like, like make them a cup of tea or coffee. Helene and Clara

When there are no children, parents are sad. There are a lot of jobs because of children. Like the ice-cream van, toy factories, schools, comics, books for children, toy shops, party shops and sweet shops. Children are important to adults because they give jobs to them. Christenings are important to children because then they become part of God’s family. God is important to children because without God we wouldn’t exist Ruth



Who are children important to? My family mean a lot to me because they love me. They care for us. They say ‘well done’ to you if you achieve something. That’s important if what you achieve is important to you.

Parents & Family Our family love us, we’re the best thing they could ever have...

Even if you didn’t win or achieve something they’d still love you and say ‘well done’.

m you’d Without the

. be lonely too

They would be bored without us.

. I love my family and they keep me safe They wouldn’t leave me on my own.

They buy you clothes and give you food. They put a roof over our heads.

Your family is someone you can trust. You know that they’re not going to hurt you. Róisín Hehir and Róisín McHugh



Community A community is all the people that live around you. Children are important to their parish. There wouldn’t be any altar servers without children. There wouldn’t be a parish without children. What is a parish? It’s sort of a community. A community is all the people getting together.

Children are important to their parish

The farm. You can go out and do the cows. It gets you out of the house to do something. My dad and my brother are farmers. It’s good to go out and help. If there wasn’t any children there would be just cows. A lot of lorries come out here for the milk. It goes away to the factory to get cleaned. My family are farmers because they like animals and they like to keep them alive. When the bullocks are old enough to be taken off the mother they take them to the mart and sell them. They’ll be taken away for beef and some of them might be bought for bulls. That’s important because people can eat the beef. Cormac, Stephanie, Jonathan

Everyone’s important in some way in their community.



Who should listen to children? Politicians should listen to children Sometimes children might see someone committing a crime. They can tell the guards. When the person is brought to court the parents can tell the judge that their child saw the crime. If parents split up sometimes they have to go to court and talk about why they did it and where the children are going to be. The children should have a say about who they go with, and if the parent is safe to be with. It’s also important to have turns so the children see their Mum and Dad at different times. Lauryn In an emergency, like your house is on fire, you call the guards and the fire brigade. It’s good to listen and take children seriously.

People should listen to children because it could be true what we say. Parents should listen to children because we might be trying to tell them something important


It’s good to listen and take children seriously 24

Adults don’t listen to children. They just dismiss them by saying they are only children, they don’t know anything. Children express themselves in many ways, not just by talking, but in their actions and like us making books. Politicians should listen to children, we have rights and we have ideas on how to make our town a better place. Amy


How we made this book! We made this book over six weeks, in two schools – Our Lady of Mercy Primary School, Sligo and Killyhommon Primary School, Boho, Co. Fermanagh. Artist Orla Kenny, and two writers, Mary Branley and Jo Holmwood, worked with a group of 15 children in each school to explore the themes and questions in this book, which are underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The way that we worked together was through a combination of discussion and creative activity. We began with conversations about the theme of the book and our thoughts in response to the four key questions: Why are children important; who are they important to; who should listen to children; and what’s important to children? But we also did lots of artwork together, as a way of giving visual expression to our thoughts and ideas. We used lots of different media – blind drawings, photography, collage, and printmaking. In the final weeks of the project, we worked in groups to bring all our art work and text together as page layouts for the book.



The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 1: Everyone under 18 has all the rights in the convention Article 2: The rights apply to every child in the world Article 3: Everyone should work towards the child’s best interests Article 4: Governments should make these rights available to all Article 5: Parents should be allowed to guide their children about their rights Article 6: All children have the right to life Article 7: All children have the right to name and nationality Article 8: All governments should preserve a child’s Identity Article 9: Children should not be separated from their family, unless it is in their best interest Article 10: Governments should respect family reunification Article 11: Governments should stop trafficking of children Article 12: Children have the right to make decisions Article 13: Children have the right to freedom of expression Article 14: Children have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion Article 15: Children have the right to meet together & join groups Article 16: Children have the right to privacy Article 17: Children have the right to appropriate information Article 18: Both parents should share the responsibility of their children Article 19: All children should be protected from abuse & neglect Article 20: Children without families should be protected Article 21: All adopted children should be protected


Article 22: Refugee children have equal rights Article 23: Children with a disability should be protected Article 24: All children have the right to good quality health care Article 25: All children who are in care should have periodic review of placement Article 26: The government should provide extra support to families in need Article 27: All children have a right to a standard of living that meets their needs Article 28: All children have the right to primary education Article 29: Education should develop each child’s personality and talents Article 30: Children of minorities or indigenous peoples should be protected Article 31: All children have the right to leisure, recreation & cultural activities Article 32: All children should be protected from child labour Article 33: All children should be protected from drug abuse Article 34: All children should be protected from sexual exploitation Article 35: All children should be protected from sale, trafficking & abduction Article 36: All children should be protected from other forms of exploitation Article 37: All children should be protected from torture and deprivation of liberty Article 38: All children should be protected from armed conflicts Article 39: Children who have been neglected should be helped to restore self esteem Article 40: Children who break the law should receive legal help Article 41: If the laws of a particular country protect children better than the convention, then those laws should stay