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CAU! •

# 47 • 2008


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Paint to prevent cheating.


President’s ballot boxes in children’s vote

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ren’t you happy? It’s your 18th birthday,” says Migui’s mother. But Migui is not happy. He’s sad because now he’s too old to join in the Global Vote. Later, when Migui is allowed to vote in another election instead – the presidential election in Senegal – he has an idea. They could use the adults’ ballot boxes for the

children’s vote! He tells his friends about his idea at Eden, a children’s rights club. The day before the Global Vote, Migui and five friends go to see the mayor to tell him about the children’s vote and ask to borrow the ballot boxes. “The Global Vote is a democratic election. We join with children all over the world to vote,” Mamadou, 15, explains to the mayor. “Unfortunately no adults are allowed to participate in our election, but you are welcome to read The Globe and visit our Global Vote,” continues Ndéye, 17. The mayor lets them borrow the ballot boxes and promises Girls sweep the street in preparation for the Global Vote.

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to come to the Global Vote. The Eden group are holding their Global Vote on a sandy street in Guédiawaye on the outskirts of the capital, Dakar. The children have closed the street. Cars will have to fi nd a different route today. This is going to be a proper voting party. Mbalax, Senegalese dance music, blasts out of the speakers. Some children are dancing and sweeping the street. Others put up posters on lampposts and walls. Children and adults who live in the area are coming to watch and listen. “We take the chance to tell them about our club and about the rights of the child,” says Mamadou. “All children should join in the Global Vote!” 

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Proud of joining in the WCPRC “Many children in Senegal are abused, physically or sexually. But it’s like that all over the world. When we work with the WCPRC we can raise awareness of violence against children, so that both children and adults realise that it’s wrong. It’s important! I’m proud of participating in the WCPRC. It’s fun too, because my friends join in and we fight together.” Mamadou Yauck, 15, Senegal

Girls’ rights with The Globe “Boys’ rights are respected more than girls’ rights here in Senegal. It’s important to fight discrimination against girls. Girls should be involved in all decisionmaking. My friend isn’t allowed to go to school but her brothers are. Her parents say she has to take care of the housework. That makes me angry! I gave her The Globe, so that she can read about girls in the same situation and show her parents, so that they realise it’s wrong.” Jacqueline Courd Fall, 17, Senegal

If I was President… “If I was President of the Republic my goal would be to protect and educate the children, with the help of the WCPRC. I am so happy I’ve read The Globe magazine. Thanks to it I have learned about all my rights and the people who fight for them. Now I want to do the same for other children.” Ndéye Mbakhe Yattassaye, 13, Senegal

Fight child labour with The Globe “Many children in my neighbourhood can’t go to school because they have to work. They work as maids, mechanics, pavers, or they gather tyres or drive horsedrawn carts. After a day’s work they’re too tired even to play. I use The Globe to show them stories about child workers. I tell them to show their parents the magazine. I hope there’ll be a cartoon about child workers in The Globe. I love the cartoon about Nelson Mandela. It makes me happy and it inspires me.” Mamadou Hady Diallo, 16, Senegal

Jury Idalmin is my idol “I love reading about the jury members. Idalmin is my idol! She is so cool and talented. I tell all my friends her story. I made a necklace with a picture of Idalmin, so that when people ask me about the necklace I can tell them about her.” Ndéye Aida Ndiaye, 17, Senegal 3

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the Black Wave and the Global Vote

Guna writes in the sand that the giant wave passed over on that terrible day.

“I know it’s okay to miss my father and brothers, but I think they would want me to be happy. Children should study and play. I can do that here at Peace Trust and that makes me okay now.”

“The water’s coming! The water’s coming!” Guna could hear screams all around her… The Black Wave of the tsunami is something Guna will never forget, but today is a happy day – Global Vote day for the children at the Peace Trust centre in Velankanni on the east coast of India.


hen Guna turned to look behind her on 26 December 2004, she was overcome with fear and immediately began to run. A large black wave towered over palm trees, picked up cars and seemed to be neverending. This was a tsunami. “I ran to the top of a building where people were crow-

ding in. I was wondering if my family were somewhere in the blackness. I began to cry,” says Guna. “I came across an uncle carrying my sister, Latha. My father and Latha were holding each other when the water came. The water was too strong and he had to let Latha go. A metal rod carried by the

Guna’s dances Bharatanatym is a type of traditional dance in India. Many of the dances involve Hindu Gods. Here Guna shows some poses she is learning.


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The Lotus is the National Flower of India. Here Guna spreads her fingers to create the beautiful flower.

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The Global Vote on the roof of Peace Trust’s centre for children affected by the tsunami.

Lord Shiva is the God of Dance. In many pictures it looks as if he has four arms! He actually only has two arms, but because he dances so fast, it looks as if he has twice as many! Guna shows one of his basic poses.

down, weeping. In front of her was Guna’s youngest brother’s body. Guna’s mother turned to her with tears and told her to go and fi nd safety at her grandmother’s house in another village. Global Vote Day Years later, Guna wakes up early in the morning at the Peace Trust hostel where she Lord Krishna can be very naughty and loves to play the flute. Guna displays his instrumental talent in this pose. By wiggling her fingers it looks as if she is playing the flute.

Lives in: Peace Trust’s centre in Velankanni for children who lost their parents in the tsunami. Loves: Maths, yoga, dancing and playing with friends. Misses: My dad and my brothers, who were killed by the tsunami. Important right: The right to study. Wants to be: A doctor.


water crashed into his chest, killing him. Then I was told that the black water also took my brothers. With a heavy heart, I continued to look for my mother.” Everything was in ruins. People were grieving everywhere. Guna came upon her mother who was kneeling

Guna, 14

shares a room with other girls who have been impacted by the tsunami. She is happy to be around other children who understand her experience and want to move forward, but it has not been easy. “Getting better takes time and a brave heart,” says Guna. The day starts with the girls getting up for yoga class on the rooftop facing the ocean. “Yoga helps clear my mind to concentrate on the present Bending is an essential part of learning Bharatanatym. Guna shows off her flexibility by touching her feet to her ears!


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Suganya votes for her rights Suganya, 13, casts her vote. She lost both of her parents, three sisters and one brother in the tsunami. “Girls and boys should be treated equally and all children should be able to go to school. I like to help with the household chores at my aunt and uncle’s. I’m grateful for having a family while others don’t. I’m in the National Cadet Corps and want to be a police officer. Girls can be as smart and as tough as boys!”

instead of always thinking about the past,” explains Guna. They’ve been preparing for the Global Vote all week. Both girls and boys get dressed up and add the fi nishing touches with a bit of make-up. In honour of the special day, cake is served and they listen to music. It’s a fun day, but they also get a sense of being part of something important. “We’re glad we can be part of this and fight for the rights of the child,” says Divakar, 12. I’m okay now Guna’s mother can’t let go of the tragedy. She works from 3 am to 7.30 pm cleaning. When she comes home she is exhaus-

ted. Guna is grateful to her big sister for being at home with her mother. “If I was at home I couldn’t study to become a doctor. All children have a right to an education, even if they are poor.” The hostel provides 3 meals a day, good living conditions, classrooms to study, teachers, internet access and fi nancial support of 300 rupees per month ($7.50 US dollars). “I know that it’s okay to miss my father and brothers, but I think they would want me to be happy. It’s hard to stay sad when having fun with friends. Children should study and play. I can do that here at Peace Trust and that makes me okay now.” 

Dressed up for the Global Vote Murugeshwari has dressed up for the Global Vote……

…with a bindi on her forehead and… …a pretty anklet.

Guna studies with her friends after school for a couple hours. “Not all children get to have an education, so I want to make the most of it.”

“Getting better takes time and a brave heart,” says Guna. The horrible Black Wave passed by where she sits and she will never forget it.


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Made us feel like global citizens “The first Global Vote Day in our school was indeed a unique experience which made us feel like global citizens. Being a girl child in India, we felt such situations are indeed eye-openers and students felt empowered to vote. It was enlightening to find out about the three candidates and spread information about their noble work. I was a supervisor at the vote.

Organising the whole event and the voting on the day not only enhanced our organisational skills but also added to

our appreciation of the democratic process.” K.V. Pravallika, 13, Apeejay School, Mumbai, India

I am part of the world

Mani goes to the world’s largest school, City Montessori School, in Lucknow, India, with 31,000 students. The students take part in the Global Vote every year.

Golden opportunity to serve humanity “Life is like an ice-cream – eat it before it melts. We have an enormous amount of opportunities to serve humanity, but we never like to do so. We always think about ourselves and forget about the suffering of the world. The opportunity that I had today was a golden opportunity. It was the first time I had a chance to serve mankind. We are all humans, we all have feelings and we should share them with others.” Jasreman Singh, 15, B.C.M. Arya Model School, Ludhiana, India

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“It was highly exciting to cast my vote in the Global Vote. For the first time I realised that I am not confined to my nation but am a part of the world. There are so many silent social workers whose contributions to the deprived community are immense and beyond all praise. The WCPRC has brought me closer to the heart-touching fact that boys and girls of my age suffer piteously, either due to poverty or being under the cruel mastery of the rich. My heart yearns to pray for all the WCPRC candidates and their contributions to the rights of the child.” Mani Pandey, 13, City Montessori School


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Rollins raps for street c and Global Vote It’s Global Vote Day at Migosi School in Kisumu, Kenya. Rollins is about to perform and he’s nervous. Not because he’s going to rap, but because of what the others will say when he tells them in the song that he has lived on the street.


hen Rollins was ten he lived with his parents in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. If he closes his eyes he can remember exactly how things were. When his dad gets home, Rollins is quiet. He can smell it. His dad is drunk. Soon he’ll When Rollins lived on the street he sniffed glue. It made him forget he was tired, hungry and lonely.


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get angry, shout and hit them. First he’ll beat mum and then the children. Rollins will get it worst because he’s the oldest. His mum used to try to pro-

tect the children, but now she beats them too. The next morning Rollins gives his four younger siblings extra long hugs, without saying a word. He puts on his favourite clothes, walks to the main road and stows away on a truck bound for Kisumu. He arrives in the middle of a storm. Rollins is alone, soaked and scared. He fi nds some

Hi friend! Rollins and Felix say hi to each other. Felix used to live on the street too, but they weren’t friends then. “You can’t have friends when you live on the street. You can only think of yourself,” says Rollins. But now they are best friends. They play together every day and help each other with homework and with household tasks like fetching water.

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Global Vote party Rollins and Felix perform when the whole of Migosi Primary School, all 2200 students, celebrate the Global Vote.

This is where Rollins used to sleep at night, in the sewers.

t children Rollins Okoth Onyango, 13

ugali – cornmeal – in a bin outside a restaurant. He cries as he eats it. “But I’m never going back. I don’t trust adults, they threat-

Loves: Music. Hates: When people call me a streetkid. Wants to be: A rapper and musician. Worst thing that’s happened: When I got run over by a car after sniffing glue. Best thing that’s happened: Getting to live in Pastor Johnson’s house. Dreams of: A family of my own. Idol: The Kenyan rapper Nameless.

en you, beat you and trick you,” he thinks to himself. Gang member The next day Rollins sees three boys playing cards on the grass outside an office block. They are the fi rst people he’s met in Kisumu who talk to him without shouting. “What’s your name, friend? You can hang out with us if you like,” they say. They let Rollins join their gang. They live beside the railway track. But life in the gang isn’t easy. The older boys tell him to fi nd food, steal stuff and follow orders; otherwise they’ll beat him. Only one boy, Morris, becomes his friend. “You must be strong if you


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want to survive,” says Morris. “You have to hit back.” So Rollins starts to fight. Soon he learns to hit harder and hit fi rst. The other boys are scared of him. Rollins likes that. Sleeping in the sewers At night Rollins sleeps in the sewers under the streets of Kisumu. The police can’t fi nd him there. But it stinks! It’s

hard to sleep and Rollins is always hungry. He tries sniffing glue. It makes his chest burn and his head feel as though it has blown up like a balloon. He doesn’t feel hungry or scared or lonely when he’s high on glue. But at night, when the glue has worn off and the water in the sewer threatens to overflow onto the spot where he sleeps, he wants to escape from himself.

School uniform

Clothes for performing and for church.

One day Rollins sees a dance group in the city’s main park. He stares at the boys dancing and rapping. They’re practising a play about children who live on the street. “I want to do that too,” thinks Rollins. “I can do that too!” Although he feels wobbly from the glue, he walks up to them. The group leader, Johnson, asks if Rollins wants to join in. “Yes!” “I’m going to help you. You’ll get to dance and sing, and go to school. But you have to promise to quit sniffi ng glue,” says Johnson. Rapping about pain Rollins starts practising and soon he can do a whole song Continued on page 12

Rollins’ wardrobe


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Rollins’ school friends make posters and ballot boxes for their school’s Global Vote.

Clothes for playing. Rollins always plays football at break time. The ball is made of plastic bags and rubber bands. Bracelet in Kenya’s colours.

Rollins’ clothes when he lived on the street.


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called ‘Uchungu’ – Pain. This is the song he’s going to perform at his fi rst Global Vote. It’s all about life on the street and how all children need love. After Rollins started singing, he moved into Johnson’s house. They cook food together and every morning he puts on his school uniform. “Now I feel safe and happy. Life is no longer a struggle, like it was on the street,” says Rollins. However, many children and adults in the city look down on children who live on the street. That’s why Rollins is nervous. What will the other children say when they fi nd out he has lived on the street? Rollins’ school has over 2200 students and it takes several hours for all of them to cast their vote in the Global Vote. Then the beats kick in and Rollins grabs the microphone. When he’s fi nished, the applause raises the roof! 

Rollins’ rap about life on the street Rollins performs a rap with a music group, all the members of which have lived on the street. It’s called ‘Uchungu’ – Pain. You can listen to the whole song at

Uchungu (Pain) Life is hard, I’ve been forced on the streets I don’t get food, nor a place to sleep The sicknesses, my dear, have made me thinner And they are killing me I’m always abused, everywhere I go I have no home, nobody loving me Please, my dear listeners, the children living in the streets Are just like you and they deserve love

Rollins with his friend Felix and Pastor Johnson, who has now given him a home.


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Rollins loves frogs

Animal names in Luo and Kiswahili

When Rollins lived on the street he met lots of animals. His favourites were the frogs. “The frogs were my friends. I used to play with them,” says Rollins. But he didn’t like snakes, monkeys or mosquitoes. Nor did he like the hippos he came across sometimes when he bathed in Lake Victoria. “They can be really dangerous if they get angry!” hippopotamus lion giraffe monkey crocodile snake frog mosquito

Luo rawo sibuor tiga onger nyang thuol ogwal suna

Kiswahili kiboko simba tiga nyani mamba nyoka chura mbu

What is your Luo name? Meetings and football with the WCPRC “I was in charge of the Global Vote at my school. Over 300 students voted. I love the WCPRC! It’s a time when teachers and other adults really listen to us children. We have learned a lot by arranging the Global Vote ourselves. There are some things we want to be better at by next year. We have to tell students at other schools what the WCPRC is all about. We’re going to take The Globe magazine with us when we go to football tournaments with the school team. We also want to have meetings that are only for children, where we can discuss our problems and what we want the adults to do to help us.” Claude Oailo, 14, Kenya

Rollins is a morning boy – his friends know that because of his surname, Onyango. The Luo people name children according to the time of day they are born. What would you be called? Early morning (sunrise – 10 am) Morning (10 am – 12 noon) Afternoon (12 noon – 4 pm) Evening (4pm – sunset) Night

Girl Akinyi Anyango Achieng Adhiambo Atieno

Boy Okinyi Onyango Ochieng Odhiambo Otieno

Global Vote at Victoria School in Kisumu, Kenya.


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Children’s Prize Finding out about girls’ rights through the World’s Children’s Prize and joining in the Global Vote gives Felicia the strength to speak out about something that’s very, very wrong…


WCPRC helps me understand my rights “I live with 36 other children in a house for orphans. I take care of them. They need food and clean school uniforms, and they need to be washed. I do it because I love them and because they need me. But when all the tasks are done, I’m too tired to do my homework. Sometimes I think about quitting school to look after the house. But when we study the WCPRC I realise that I have a right to go to school. I want to learn more so that I can become a teacher. Then I can help more children who are orphans just like me.” Regina Atieno, 15, Kenya

hen I play football I’m happy. It helps me switch off. But afterwards the other feelings come straight back again. My parents died when I was five and I moved in with some relatives. My aunt forced me to do housework all day and in the evening I wasn’t allowed to join the family at the table.

WCPRC helps adults understand “I wish we had enough copies of The Globe for everyone to be able to take one home. This year it was my job to tell other children what the magazine says. I love teaching my friends about the rights of the child! I think article 19 of the Child Convention is extremely important. It says that children have the right to protection from all forms of violence. In Kenya, lots of girls are raped. One girl I know was raped and she doesn’t dare tell anyone about it. She is afraid that adults and other children will say it was her own fault. Of course it wasn’t! I think that the WCPRC and the Global Vote provide a good opportunity for us children to talk about our rights, so that adults realise what they have to do to protect us. ” Elisabeth Odhiambo, 13, Kenya


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If there were no leftovers, I didn’t get any food. So I was delighted when my sister helped me get away. She got me a place in the house where I live now. And I finally got to start school. Now I’m in year six and I live in a home for orphans. There are 19 of us, both girls and boys, and we live with our foster father and his family. On the surface everything looks fine, but underneath I’m almost always scared. Our foster father makes girls come to his room at night. At first we didn’t understand what was happening and the older girls were too ashamed to tell us. Then one of the girls had to go to hospital. Our foster father said it was her appendix, but it hap-

pened four times and now I know that you can only have your appendix removed once. Since then it has happened to more girls. They have all become ill and unhappy. Now we know why. I’m so afraid that it’ll be my turn soon, because almost all the older girls have moved away. If I refuse to sleep with him he’ll tell everyone that I am shameless and a bad girl. He’ll send me away. But I have nowhere to go! I don’t know what to do. But talking about the rights of the child and about other girls who have been through the same thing makes me stronger. It helps to tell people too, and to ask for help. ” 

Nancy’s poem about AIDS


rize helps Felicia speak out

Felicia, 15 Lives at: A home for orphans in Kisumu, Kenya. Hobbies: Singing, cycling, playing football. Loves: When my football team wins and gets trophies. Hates: My foster father abusing the girls in our house. Dream: To be able to continue my education. Best thing: That the rights of the child make me strong and that I dare to tell people what’s happening to us girls.

Lots of children in Kenya have become homeless because of AIDS. Felicia’s friend Nancy Hoko Ochieng, 11, wrote a poem about AIDS. Read it at

Cool braids Felicia’s mother was a hairdresser and Felicia remembers how she used to braid her hair when she was small. Felicia loves pretty hairstyles. But her foster father thinks spending time on your appearance is a waste of time and he has forced her to shave her head.

Cynthia, 8: Top knot Lilian, 13: Zig-zag style

Pose, 13: Cat’s ears

Macreen, 13: Back style with crown Liz, 4: Extensions

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Make Global Vote Day a holiday



“ have learnt a lot about my rights from The Globe magazine. I read it from cover to cover. It is a book that needs to be chewed, swallowed and digested. I recommend it to both children and adults and commend the wonderful work of WCPRC. How I wish our government knew the importance of the WCPRC, where children are given the opportunity to participate in the Global Vote. If I was president of Nigeria, I would make the WCPRC a household name and declare a national holiday called Global Vote Day. I would also give free education to all children. I want to become a lawyer so that I can fight for children’s rights in Nigeria.” Nasiru Suleiman, 14, Nigeria

Children vote against the war in Congo CONGO

The children of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo participated in the WCPRC and the Global Vote for the first time. There is a war going on there between different armed groups and the children suffer a lot.

Many parents violate rights “


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he WCPRC has taught me that I have a right to protection, food, education and spare time. I tell others about the rights of the child and about how every year in our school, we vote to decide who should get the children’s prize for defending children’s rights. Many children are treated badly and don’t get any help. They become beggars or run away to the cities and become street children. To change this we have to learn from an early age about the rights of the child and how to respect them. We have to be able to respect other people and live in peace with them. The WCPRC has taught me about democracy, about voting and making decisions without being prevented by others. However, a lot of parents do not respect what we’ve learned about the rights of the child, because our country is so poor.” Lwabanya Acima, 17, Congo

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“ belong to the Parkari minoriThe Globe Ity and I want to fight for the rights of the girls in the Thar and the Bible Desert. The rights of the child


“ n Nigeria, children’s rights are not respected and the government is doing little to improve our lives. I learnt from The Globe magazine what children’s rights are and how individuals who love children in another part of the world are using their resources to better the lives of children. Thank you WCPRC for your good work. If I was president of Nigeria I would eradicate child illiteracy. The Globe magazine is my favourite book after the Bible, and I read it every day.” Richard Mosinamofan Olatise, 12, Nigeria

must be respected in a loving and caring way and we should not: • be forced to do hard work. • be treated with less respect in society because we belong to a minority group and a low caste. • be less appreciated in the family because we are girls. • be refused our rights to speak out on family matters. • be forced to marry young. Adults in my country don’t know about our rights. Even governmental departments don’t know about how to respect the rights of the child. The most common violations of our rights are: child labour; discrimination; violence and abuse; threats; lack of education and respect in society; the

We must stop these wars “


he WCPRC has taught me that children should not be forced to become soldiers or to be involved in conflict in any other way. I want to learn more about the rights of the child through the WCPRC. Children are abused in many ways here. They are beaten by teachers and parents. Children are raped by soldiers and forced to become soldiers themselves. Children whose parents are poor have to work and can’t go to school. Sometimes children are accused of witchcraft and are stoned even though the accusations are not true. We have to change all the bad things that are a result of the wars. I have learnt that in a democracy, everyone is free to vote to change the bad things in a country.” Sylvie Sifa, 16, Congo

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Fighting for the rights of desert girls results of poverty and lack of justice. From the WCPRC we learn about the importance of secret voting and how to cast a vote. I was a WCPRC team leader in my class.” Pali d/o Vermo, 14, Pakistan

Teach parents about our rights “


arents in Congo need to learn about the rights of the child. I did, through the WCPRC. We should not be prevented from going to school by being forced to work. The prize magazine is the only thing about the rights of the child in our school library. Only children under the age of 18 can vote in the WCPRC. That helps adults to understand that even children can hold a vote and can have opinions on what goes on in the world. The rights of all children must be respected, both in developing countries and in rich countries. If I was president I would fight for children’s rights and the rights of all people.” Ibucwa Mimano, 14, Congo

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Children march for rights of the child When the students of São Jorge School in Belterra in Amazonas, Brazil held their Global Vote, the children marched for the rights of the child. “This is the first time we have had a demonstration for the rights of the child here. Many adults stood at their windows and watched. Some children here have to stop school to work in the corn fields and girls have to work in the home,” says Nairkile da Silva Coutinho, 14. She wore a cap with the words ‘I want peace’ at the demonstration.

‘Right to protection’.


Queen of children’s rights in Globe dress Everlane Queiroz, 12, was one of the queens of children’s rights at Raimunda’s school. The queens led a debate on the lack of equality in how boys’ rights and girls’ rights are respected. When they were finished with The Globe magazine, Everlane recycled it to make her royal dress!

Raimunda votes in the Global Vote.

No time to play “I get up at five every morning, but I still always get to school late. First I have to take care of my three cousins, get them washed and give them breakfast. In the afternoons I do the laundry and make dinner. My cousins’ mum works in town so I deal with all the housework myself. I work even harder than I did when I lived with my dad for two years. My stepmother treated me badly and forced me to work hard. I was only nine, but sometimes I couldn’t go to school at all for a whole week. Childhood is for playing and learning things, but not all children have time to play.” Raimunda Nerli Lima dos Santos, 13, Boa Ventura Queiroz School in Brazil


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Children beaten “Children get punished roughly here, both in and outside the family. We get beaten with hands, shoes, brooms, belts and muchinga (horse whips). I think it’s wrong. There’s no reason to beat children like this.” Gerlane Brito Rêgo, 14, steward at Global Vote at São Jorge School in Tapará, Brazil Children get beaten with… shoes


A thousand voters from 90 countries United World College of South East Asia has students from around 90 countries. Another of the twelve UWC schools in the world, UWC USA, also participated in the Global Vote. Fredrika Wessman explains how she got her school to become a Global Friend. “I felt that this was something our school shouldn’t miss out on. I got a friend involved and we told a teacher about the incredible organisation that is the world’s largest contact network for children. The teacher helped us and more

horse whips

Parents were beaten too “Violence in school starts in the family. To put a stop to it, parents should be educated about violence and about how to treat their children. Some parents beat their children because they themselves were beaten when they were children. Parents should also come to school more often and take more of an interest in their child’s education.” Bruno Natanael Mota de Almeida, 14, Global Vote chairperson at São Jorge School in Tapará, Brazil

“A brilliant project – best in the world!” “I waited impatiently for two years for my school to join in. Now I see my life in two parts – before and after the World’s Children’s Prize. Before the World’s Children’s Prize I didn’t know I had that so many rights. I thought rights were just something you talk about; I didn’t know that I could take action to make sure they are respected. It was really exciting to work with the World’s Children’s Prize and all my friends at my high school got actively involved in the process. We carried out surveys among children. I hope that the World’s Children’s Prize continues to grow. It’s a brilliant project, the best in the world!” Iliana Padilla, 16, Cartagena, Colombia CO

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and more people found out about the World’s Children’s Prize. A whole year group, 300 students, worked together to make posters and 15 ballot boxes. Since our school is international, we were lucky enough to have students from the three prize laureates’ countries, and they performed traditional dances from their countries. A total of 1009 students voted and the response from the students was overwhelming. I am so proud that I was involved in bringing the WCPRC to my school.” Fredrika Wessman, 15, Singapore and Sweden




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The girls at Mmofraturo Primary School in Kumasi in Ghana have waited a long time to be able to cast their votes. Today it’s time for the Global Vote – at last!

Global Vote – at last Global Vote something to boast about “By participating in the Global Vote I’ve learned how voting works. Now I can teach my brothers too, when I visit them at their school. The WCPRC is an open platform where we children can express our thoughts and feelings freely. I’m proud of being part of the Global Vote. It really is something to boast about!” Judith Usei Appiah, 14

Counting the votes.

WCPRC against corporal punishment “I hate being beaten by teachers. It goes against the rights of the child, but in Ghana teachers are allowed to do it anyway. That’s why it’s so great to work on the WCPRC. It gives us a chance to protest against corporal punishment in the classroom, without making the teachers angry.” Sheila Abu-Poku, 14

Laws protect us “I have learned from studying the WCPRC that there are laws in Ghana to protect all children. Nobody can take a child’s rights away. If my parents ever told me I had to stop going to school I’d go to the police!” Bernice Adom, 14 Long queue to vote.





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ver 300 deaf or hearingimpaired children attend Ashanti School for the Deaf. Many of them have been treated badly because of their disability. They read The Globe and participate in the Global Vote. The discussions in the classroom may not be loud, but they are lively. The students have read The Globe and now they’re telling each other their own life stories.

“My dad doesn’t love me. At least not as much as my brothers and sisters who can hear,” says Betty Agyapong, 17. “He listens to them more than he listens to me. Sometimes he seems to act like I don’t exist. He never hugs me. That’s why I’m often sad. Who will care about me if my own family don’t? It’s my right to be loved, like my brothers and sisters! It’s every child’s right!” The other children in the class applaud in sign language, stretching up their hands and waving. 

Same rights “When I lived with my parents they thought I was fragile just because I’m deaf. I wasn’t allowed to play football or play with other children. I wasn’t allowed to go to the shop or learn to cycle. But now I go to school with other deaf children and we get to try everything! I do have the same rights as all other children, after all. In the future I want o be a chef.” Abudulai Mohammed, 17, Jamasi, Ghana

Betty Agyapong, 17



C More Ghana on page 22

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Daniel’s club for the rights of the child “I don’t know my mother, but they say she lives in Ivory Coast. My father lives in Switzerland. Here in Ghana, beating children is common. The WCPRC is a great study programme that makes sure we know the rights of the child and can demand respect for those rights if we are at risk of abuse. After reading the WCPRC magazine, The Globe, I had the idea of starting a club for the rights of the child. Now we have one at our school, called the Rights of the Child Club. I want the club to help people love and respect children more.” Daniel Olsson Boadu, 14, Accra, Ghana

Hurray for the WCPRC! “Wow! The greatest thing that has ever happened to me was getting the right to vote, not for the president, but for those who respect our rights. From that day I know that I have rights that must not be violated, the right to go to school and the right to have my voice heard. WCPRC how can I thank you? I wrote my appreciation on the wall; the rain washed it away. I wrote it on the board; the duster cleaned it. Finally I wrote it on my heart; it is still there.“ Esther Akosua Nyamekye, 12, Tarkwa, Ghana

“It’s really important to learn about different circumstances of life, especially here. We’re closed off. We’re in a bubble, a Solana Beach bubble”, said Isabelle Vianu, 12, at the Global Vote Day at Skyline School in California in the US.

I can change the lives of thousands “If you don’t vote, you don’t make a difference. A lot of kids don’t get a chance to vote. It’s a real privilege for them to have a look at democracy. The World’s Children’s Prize is making a big impact on the world we live in by making children all over the globe aware of their rights and opening the eyes of adults who previously abused the rights of children. For children like me, whose rights are not abused, our eyes are opening to the horrible conditions that so many children around the world are made to live under. I was shocked to learn that there are thousands of children in the world that are forced to be slaves and soldiers in war. I have also learned through my experience with the WCPRC how one dedicated person, like the prize nominees, can change the lives of tens of thousands of kids. I hope that more and more people will learn about children’s rights.” Drew Carlson, 11, USA

I will protect our rights “My experience with the World’s Children’s Prize has left me in awe and inspired by the dedication, hard work, and the years of commitment of the recipients of the prize. My mind has been enlightened by all that I have learned about children’s rights. I live in a world where I would be considered spoiled compared to many children. By learning about the World’s Children’s Prize and children’s rights my eyes have been opened to the atrocities that so many children in the world must endure. Our world must become a place where children are safe, nurtured, and have a positive future. My experience with the WCPRC has changed me and now that I have become aware of children’s rights I will become a protestor against wrongdoing and a protector of what is right. I will start here in my own community and will actively support attempts in our global community to make the world a better place for all children to thrive.” Tommy Rutten, 11, USA


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WOW for World’s Children’s Prize “WOW!!! That’s all I can say about the World’s Children’s Prize. Taking things for granted used to come naturally for children like me. That includes children’s rights. I have an education and health care, loving parents, and a safe environment to grow up in. Shouldn’t every child? My class learned all about children’s rights and about people who protect children and defend their rights. Our school had a rally where we informed our parents about the prize. Our results were sent to join children all over the world speaking out for children’s rights. I feel like one tiny star lighting up the night sky. I want to be remembered for doing something memorable like helping millions of kids who suffer such abuse. I don’t know why we’re treating our future generations so horribly! Maybe adults were treated this way when they were young. If they know how much it hurts, then why do they do it? Treat us children with respect!” Breezy Bower, 12, USA

From the Global Vote at Domino Servite School in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Helps us understand the word democracy

We build up our own world “Today was a great day where all the children around the world were given a chance to once again remember that they are the light and leaders of the next generation. As children we build up our own world by what we say. In order for us all to have a say, our vote is our voice, each one of us!” Gcinile Mhlongo, 16, South Africa

“This experience has been extremely useful for each individual’s future in that we learned how to vote correctly and how the voting procedure works. These voting experiences give every child an opportunity to voice their opinions and build up self-confidence. It also gives us a better understanding of the word ‘democracy’. We look forward to many more elections in the future!” Nydia Stegen, 16, South Africa

My vote can change things “I may not be able to stand up for what I want and believe in the middle of parliament, but with my one vote I can change a lot of things. That one vote is my little voice. This election helps in building up compassion and the dream of one day having the chance to make a difference. I am a child with a lot of privileges. I have a home and go to a good school and get a plate of food three times a day. But out there in the corners of this world is a child without even someone to smile at him, to give him hope for the future. We children could cast our votes for that child’s smile.” Nomagugu Chonco, 17, South Africa

Teaches us what to fight for “Millions of children all over the world can’t have a say about their rights as children. That is why my vote is very important in the WCPRC election. It is a voice for you and for other children who cannot vote. Our participation in the election showed that there are people who care about the rights of children. It was a great experience and it will contribute to our knowledge of what to fight for.” in o D om Mary Tselane, 16, South Africa t a . te 7 o al V ge 2 lob on pa G t he c ho ol 23 rom r e f e r vite S o M S

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To Global Vote by d “Are you awake?” shouts Simon Kekana, 15, from outside. He’s sitting on a cart drawn by three donkeys. Johanna Molefe, 14, kisses her grandma on the cheek and jumps onto the cart. Simon tugs at the reins to get the donkeys trotting. But Johanna thinks they should slow down so that everyone can see the banner hanging on the back of the cart. It’s the WCPRC logo, painted in bright pink by Johanna and her friends.



t’s time for the WCPRC Vote in the village of Robega in North West Province, South Africa. The village school is participating for the fi rst time and Johanna wants everything to be perfect. They have been preparing for the vote for weeks. “When the schools in the neighbouring villages heard

There’s a constant queue for the polling booth.

about our vote they wanted to join in. Now six schools are involved,” says Johanna, who has lived with her grandma since her parents died of AIDS. Many adults, like the priest, the head teacher and the Queen Mother, have asked if they can come and watch. Thabiso Maetle, 12, is organising the day and he’s a little nervous. “I’ve never talked in one of these before,” he says, looking at the microphone. “Just talk into it normally,

don’t shout,” says Johanna, who is busy with the voting slips. When two girls start to argue about where to put the ballot box and the voting slips, Johanna covers her ears. She doesn’t want to hear any more. Dark clouds appear on the horizon and the wind picks up. The dry red earth swirls and the voting slips almost get blown away. What if it rains today – that’d be typical! It’s almost always sunny in Robega. The buses arrive from the


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y donkey cart

Everyone gets a piece of fruit once they have voted.

Johanna and her friends are responsible for the ballot boxes.

other schools. Everything is in place. The WCPRC’s South African jury member, Gabatshwane Gumede, opens the Global Vote by talking about how important it is that children know they have rights. A dance group performs and the Queen Mother has organised fruit for everyone who votes. Everything is just as perfect as Johanna had imagined.

Longing for school Simon sits alone with his donkeys on the other side of the schoolyard. He shouldn’t really be looking after donkeys; he should be in year nine at school. Two years ago, just as he started year seven, both his parents died. First his dad, then his mum. For a while Simon tried to carry on living as before. Friendly neighbours shared

Global Vote dance for ancestors “It took two days to make them,” says Antone Mhavane, 14, taking off the bells around his ankles. They’re made from old plastic milk bottles and small pebbles. The string is made from dried corn plants. Antone and his friend Khumo dance a traditional African dance before the Global Vote starts and they stamp hard on the hillside so that the bells jingle. “It’s meant to be heard deep down in the underworld. It’s our way of telling our ancestors that we’re voting today. We do it at important times, like weddings and funerals, that we want to tell everyone about – even the dead.” Although Antone and Khumo love traditional dancing and singing, they listen to other music too. Mostly house, hip hop and R&B.


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their food with him, but soon it became impossible. “I couldn’t afford a new school uniform when the old one got too small,” says Simon, and explains that they are not allowed to come to school without a uniform. So he got a job as a donkey driver. He looks after 15 donkeys and picks up people who need a lift, but he mostly uses the cart to transport sand for cement from the riverbank. He likes giving friends a lift to school. Then he gets to hear the latest news. At the same

time he can’t help being sad. “Every time I come to school I start thinking about everything that has happened and how much I wish I was still in school. I worry almost every day that I’ll never have the chance to fi nish high school.” 

Arriving at school with the Global Vote banner that Johanna and her friends made hanging on the donkey cart.


f you ever happen to find yourself in the village of Robega, you might just be woken by scary sounds just after midnight. But these are no ordinary ghosts. They are

herds of grey-brown, fourlegged phantoms, making their way along the dusty gravel roads. “It’s the donkeys. Until 20 years ago, there were lots of donkeys here in Robega, but they were all killed,” says Johanna. During apartheid, when the black population of South Africa were treated badly, a

“It’ll be a lo struggle” “This is for the nation!” says Richard Mhlungu, 13, and raises his fist in the air. It’s a gesture that means ‘power to the people’. Nelson Mandela used it when he was fighting for freedom. “The problem is that adults never have time for us when it’s important. I don’t think they care about how children feel deep inside. When a child is suffering, adults just shrug their shoulders and say ‘that child is hopeless’. I actually

dictator governed Johanna’s village. He was not popular and the village inhabitants used to sing that he was dumber than a donkey. When the dictator, Lucas Mangope, heard about the song he was so angry that he ordered all the donkeys to be shot. The police were told to kill all the donkeys. Mangope never wanted to see another donkey, never wanted to be reminded about the offensive song. “There were dead donkeys everywhere. There were too many to bury. They just lay there rotting at the roadside,” says Johanna. So if you hear something that sounds like a distant, sorrowful bray at night, don’t be afraid. It’s just the ghosts of the poor donkeys from Robega.


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a long ”

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Collaboration between me and the world “Why is my vote important? Voting is active and voting in the WCPRC election means that I have made a difference. Today’s voting gave me a sense of pride. While I was putting my ballot paper into the box, I felt the collaboration between me and the world. Especially with those whose love and dedication make them care for those who have been deprived of their rights.” Sifiso Ngema, 16

Makes the world a better place

wonder why adults bother having children. I dream of the day when children’s rights are actually respected,” says Richard. “The WCPRC and the Global Vote are all about the rights of the child and there’s so much still to be done in this area. If a boy comes home and tells his parents he actually has rights, he could get a beating just for that, because they think he’s being troublesome.” That’s why Richard raised his fist when he voted, because there are so many problems for children. “This is going to be a long struggle”, he says.

Counting the votes at Domino Servite School.

“Voting plays an important role in individual’s lives. For me, this vote was a reflection of who I am inside and what I think would be the right thing. It makes my voice heard. It makes me consider the world I live in and how I would want it to be. This vote teaches us the basics of voting and makes us aware of what good people are doing. It gives you hope to see that there are people working towards one goal, making this world a better place. Someone is doing something about the trouble in the world today.” Eric Hailstones, 17

Democracy is important “We were all excited to know that we would be voting today! This election has more to it than a few moments of fresh air. We learn about the importance of democracy, where we can all vote for whoever we want, and in this case, all the children of the world can vote, making us feel like one big family, as if we are all from one country. It also prepares us for voting in the future, when we are older and have to vote for our country. Apart from having to walk around with a blue inked thumb for the rest of the day, I must say I really enjoyed it!” Tabita van Eeden, 16

More from Domino Servite School on page 23.

My vote shows my gratitude “If you know someone has been living their life basically so that others can benefit from it, and they really do it with passion and love for their fellow beings, why shouldn’t I place a mark of support to show my gratitude for their sacrifice? Voting, for me, is more than just marking a ballot paper. Others voted for my freedom. Voting to me is returning the good deed and helping others who are desperately in need.” Nontokozo Buthelezi, 17 27

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Anja in Greenland and new jury member Rebeka in Bangladesh notice the impact of global warming, also called the greenhouse effect. The giant icebergs where Anja lives are now about 80 metres high. Ten years ago they were over 100 metres high. Greenland’s glaciers are melting. If the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, global warming will continue to increase. The result may be that the earth’s temperature increases by two to six degrees. Every degree of heat will have devastating consequences for people, animals and the environment. When the thick ice caps in Greenland and at the South Pole melt, the sea level may rise by several metres, perhaps as much as six or seven. Low-lying cities and regions will then be underwater. Bangladesh is a lowlying country. Several island countries will be wiped out altogether. In other areas there will be severe droughts and deserts will spread.

The earth is getting warmer Pages 28-41 What do you think? The earth is getting warmer as a result of humankind’s behaviour, and this is a huge threat to us all. What do you think we should do? Use the form at, send an email to or write a letter. The winners will be drawn out of a hat and will receive WCPRC t-shirts and jury member Gaba’s CD.

Mountains of ice There are many icebergs in the ocean outside Ilulissat. The highest are around 80 metres, but ten years ago many were over 100 metres high. The ice is melting. About 90% of each iceberg is underwater. The small icebergs float and the big ones stand on the seabed.


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drives a dog sled

Anja goes to a Global Friend school called Atuarfik Jørgen Brønlund in Ilulissat, Greenland. This year she’s going to participate in the Global Vote for the first time. Anja, who loves driving a dog sled and playing football, is worried about the melting ice. “If it gets warmer the dogs won’t be as important as they are now and things will be harder for the hunters and fishermen,” says Anja.

Anja Kristensen, 13 Lives in: Ilulissat in Greenland, which belongs to Denmark. Likes: Driving a dog sled; playing football and handball. Favourite dog: Uiloq. Worried about: The icebergs and glaciers melting. Favourite foods: Dried whale blubber, cinnamon buns.



hen Anja feeds the family’s 23 dogs, who are tied up outside, there is one dog who gets an extra cuddle. “Uiloq has been my favourite ever since he was a puppy,” says Anja. “I love driving a dog sled. My dad is Greenland’s champion sled driver, so I have a good instructor. I hitch six dogs to the sled when I drive. It’s hard to get the dogs to obey you. Dad drives a sled with 12–15 dogs.

Most important vehicle The dog sled is the most important vehicle in Greenland. Where Anja lives there are 4500 people and 4000 sled dogs.


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As long as the dogs are puppies they are allowed to live indoors, but when they are seven or eight months old they move outside. All the family dogs have a name, and Anja is the one who names them. “The name depends on what the dog looks like or how it acts. A white dog could be called Nanoq, for example. That means polar bear,” says Anja. It’s unusual to see real polar bears here, but there are some in the far north of Greenland.

Ilulissat is 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. It is home to 4500 people and 4000 dogs. The dogs are only used to pull sleds. Most of the families in Ilulissat live by fishing and hunting. The men travel by dog sled onto the ice to go fishing and hunting. They stay away for a couple of days and sleep in tents on the ice. Melting ice “Adults talk about climate change and global warming a

Football in the snow Anja and her friends like playing football. It doesn’t bother them that there is snow on the ground.

Watch out for dog sleds The sign warns pedestrians about dog sled traffic.


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Room of her own Anja’s family live in a terraced house. Anja and her big brother have their own rooms.

Warm in the snow Anja need never have cold feet.

lot. There is often news about the climate on TV. I’d like to know more, like how much of Greenland’s glaciers melt in, say, one week. I want to stay in Greenland when I grow up. The best thing about Greenland is the dog sleds and if the weather gets warmer it’ll be harder to drive a dog sled and hard for the hunters,” says Anja. All 18 students in Anja’s class have Greenlandic as their mother tongue. The school is on a hillside that is usually snow-clad. Lots of icicles hang off the school roof. In fourth grade, Greenlandic children begin learning English and Danish. Greenland used to be a Danish colony. The huge island is still partly governed

by Denmark. Greenland has 56,000 inhabitants. One fi fth of them are Danish. “My favourite subject is Maths. I also like painting dog sleds and scenes of how people used to live in Greenland. And I paint lots of icebergs, seals and whales. Once a week we have ‘personal development’ in our timetable. That’s when we talk about important things, like how we should treat one another,” explains Anja. Plays football Anja’s best friend is her cousin Camilla. They have always spent lots of time together, but now Camilla lives far away in the capital of Greenland, Nuuk. “We stay in touch via the internet. We have a computer

Whale blubber and cinnamon buns Anja likes Matak, a delicacy in Greenland. It is dried whale blubber, ideally from a white whale. Anja’s family like cinnamon buns too.

at home and there are plenty at school.” Anja plays football and handball. “Sometimes we play football in the snow in the schoolyard. I have football training three times a week and handball training almost as often. On Sundays I have football training in the morning and handball in the evening.” 


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How many planets do you n


Every person makes a mark on the earth. The more natural resources a person uses up and the more waste created, the greater the impact on the environment. Each person’s impact on the earth is called their ecological footprint. For the lifestyles of most people on earth, one planet would be enough. However, if everyone on earth had the same lifestyle as the average person in the USA we’d need 5.5 planets, or 3 if we lived like the average person in the EU. The higher the number of planets, the more your lifestyle contributes to global warming and climate change.


f we calculate everything that is used, consumed and emitted as waste, it is thought that we would need 1.25 earths to sustain current levels of global consumption. Ecological footprint An ecological footprint is the mark or wound that each person leaves behind them on the earth’s surface. The size of your ecological footprint depends on how much land is needed to produce what you consume – land to grow food, pastureland, fishing waters, forest, built-up areas where you live and work, metals, energy, dealing with waste, and more. Then you compare

this footprint with the amount of land and resources available on our planet. In this way, you can figure out how many planets we would need if everyone lived the way you live. For example, metal and plastic are needed for cars, buses and airplanes, and they need oil and petrol as fuel. The more paper, machines, food and clothes you use and the more you travel, the larger your ecological footprint becomes. But your footprint shrinks if production of the things and energy you use has been adapted to fit what nature can sustain. Our footprints would be much smaller if transport by car, bus and

plane didn’t use fossil fuels like petrol and diesel. Vegetables, rice, grain and fruit that is grown near where you live gives a smaller footprint than food that has been grown on the other side of the planet and transported to you by air and by road. We don’t just use up more than the earth can replace. We also produce waste that has to be dealt with. In rich countries, the quantity of waste every person produces has tripled in the last 20 years. How much waste does your home produce in a week? Waste also includes all the carbon dioxide released into the air when we use oil, petrol or coal, or when we burn waste and wood. Carbon dioxide is the type of waste that is increasing the most and the one that causes global warming. Gap between rich and poor One fi fth (20 percent) of the world’s population is responsible for 86% of all consumption. These people have the

THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT GLOBAL WARMING Light from the sun is the only thing that heats the air inside the greenhouse.

Visible light goes through the glass and warms everything inside the greenhouse. Rays of heat bounce off the glass walls and stay inside the greenhouse. The temperature rises!


In cold countries, you need heat to grow plants that prefer warmer climates. You can use a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a building made of glass that lets sunlight in but doesn’t let heat out.


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u need?



largest ecological footprint. Poorer countries have very small ecological footprints. There can be a huge gap between different people’s ecological footprints within the same country, especially in countries where there is a big gap between rich and poor. In Brazil, for example, a girl in the Uru Wau indigenous people group hardly leaves any footprint at all, while a rich landowner with his own plane, several cars and boats, a large house with air conditioning, a swimming pool, computers, TVs and lots of other machines, who also eats a lot of meat, leaves a huge footprint. Largest footprint The country that leaves the largest ecological footprint in the world, per person, is the United Arab Emirates, mostly because of it huge carbon dioxide emissions. The country has a small but rich population who use a lot of planes and cars and have air condi-

Carbon dioxide (CO 2) acts like the glass in a greenhouse. It keeps the heat inside the atmosphere (the air around us). The earth gets hotter and hotter and hotter…

USA needs 5.5 planets

EU needs 3 planets

Global average – 1.25 planets

Where is your country? The list below shows that rich countries have the biggest ecological footprints and that they currently contribute most to global warming. The further down the list a country comes, the smaller its footprint. 1. United Arab Emirates 2. USA 3. Finland 4. Canada 6. Australia 8. Sweden 9. New Zealand 10. Norway 11. Denmark 12. France 13. UK 22. Israel 23. Germany 27. Japan 44. Lebanon 46. Mexico 53. South Africa 58. Brazil

What happens if the weather gets warmer? Yes, the thick ice in Greenland and at the South Pole starts to melt. And the sea level rises!

65. Jordan 69. China 80. Thailand 81. Gambia 83. Egypt 84. Bolivia 86. Colombia 92. Nigeria 93. Senegal 98. Uganda 104. Sri Lanka 105. Burkina Faso 106. Ghana 107. Guinea Conakry 108. Burma 111. Vietnam 113. Peru 116. Zimbabwe

122. Benin 123. Kenya 126. India 127. Ivory Coast 128. Sierra Leone 130. Cambodia 131. Nepal 134. Burundi 138. Guinea Bissau 137. Rwanda 139. Mozambique 142. Pakistan 143. Congo Kinshasa 147. Bangladesh

Large areas of the earth will be under water. Millions of people will have to move. If the sea level rises by a few metres, 35 million people will become environmental refugees in Bangladesh alone! Many island nations will disappear altogether. Buildings, houses and farmland will end up under water.


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Your footprint tells you how many hectares of land are needed to support your consumption and waste. Based on that, you can work out how many planets would be needed if everyone on earth lived like you do. You can calculate your own ecological footprint here: (with Bobbie Bigfoot)

tioning, since it is a desert country. The country now plans to build a whole city that will only use solar energy and hardly release any carbon dioxide. A close second in terms of ecological footprint is the USA. You’ll fi nd many of the countries where this magazine is read – maybe even your own – in the list of the countries with the largest and smallest ecological footprints.

prints. But more and more people in China and India want, and can have, the same lifestyle as inhabitants of rich countries. However, if all the world’s population lived like people do in the USA or the EU, it would be a catastrophe for the planet. How should we handle this, and what is fair? One thing is sure. We each need to think about our own role in this and what we can do. We also need all sorts of initiatives and inventions that make cars, planes, factories, What is fair? fridges, heating and everyChina and India, the countries thing else much more environwith the largest populations in mentally friendly than they the world, currently have currently are.  quite small ecological foot-

It will be hard to grow enough food for everyone when farmlands get flooded or become deserts. And where will all the homeless people go? The deserts will spread and people will have to move...

The earth is sweating


Find out your footprint!

“The earth is sweating! It’ll sweat to death if we humans keep polluting it. All the cars, waste and factories that cause pollution are just a few examples. I think it is the government’s responsibility to deal with this in a better way and to make people stop burning their waste on the street. I wish there were better cars that didn’t need petrol to fuel them.”

Julian Reaño Mescco, 16, Cusco, Peru When Julian calculated his own footprint at, he found out that one planet would be enough (actually even less, 2/3 of a planet) if everyone lived the way he does.

Why is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increasing, and where does it come from? People use FOSSIL fuels like coal and oil in power stations and cars and airplanes…


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Bangladesh is drowning

Global warming causes flooding and drought, which lead to violations of children’s rights because: • Children don’t get an education, because schools are closed down. • Children lose their homes and families. • Children are forced to flee. • Children become ill. • Children die.

Global warming is causing sea levels to rise all over the world. Experts estimate that at least one quarter of Bangladesh will be under water within a hundred years. It is thought that 35 million of the country’s 150 million inhabitants will be climate refugees within 20–30 years. Bangladesh is one of the countries that will be hit hardest by global warming, although the country itself contributes less than 0.1 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

If you use wood as a fuel and plant new trees, there is no extra carbon dioxide in the air.

When a tree grows, it absorbs the carbon dioxide in the air.


Rights of the child and the environment

But FOSSIL fuels like coal, oil and natural gas contain carbon dioxide that plants have absorbed from the atmosphere for many million years.

When the wood burns, the same amount of carbon dioxide returns to the air.


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Rebeka scared the villag “We have always had flooding here in Bangladesh, but in recent years it has become much worse. It seems like there’s something wrong with nature. I’m scared that my whole village will disappear. I’m also scared of dying,” says Rebeka Aktar, 14. Rebeka is a new member of the World’s Children’s Prize child jury, representing children whose rights have been violated by natural disasters and environmental degradation and children who demand respect for girls’ rights.

Rebeka Aktar, 14 Lives: In the village of Borotia beside the river Dhaleshwari. Loves: Going to school. Hates: When children and women are abused. Best thing that’s happened: When my big sister got married. Fantastic party! Worst thing that’s happened: When my grandma died. I loved her. Wants to be: A teacher and help poor children go to school. Dream: For all children to be able to go to school.

A very long time ago, long before the dinosaurs, the plants that existed formed layers of peat when they died. Over time, these layers were compressed and became coal and oil, which we now take from under the ground.

When we burn FOSSIL fuels, we release all the carbon dioxide absorbed by plants over MILLIONS of years in the space of a few HUNDRED years! …a large proportion of these emissions have happened during your and your parents’ lifetimes…

o m

The greenhouse effect won’t just make things warm and cosy – it will be a catastrophe for the human race! But we can stop the catastrophe if all countries work together. We have to stop using FOSSIL fuels and we need new technology that makes better use of renewable energy!


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ur whole village flooded in three days. Even though I live a couple of hundred metres from the river, the water level still came half way up our house. We tried to get the beds and other things above the water level using bamboo stands that my dad made. My dad and my big brother built a raft from banana trees and

Fields destroyed “The floods destroy our fields. In some places the mud can be a metre deep when the water recedes. It’s really hard to start growing crops again,” says Rebeka.

we cooked our food there, since our kitchen was flooded.” Bitten by a snake “After a week of flooding, I waded round to the haystack behind the house. While I was trying to get some dry hay for our cows, a snake suddenly fell out of the haystack and into the water. It bit my foot. It made me dizzy and I almost fainted, but I managed to shout for my mum and dad and they came running. They tied a piece of fabric tightly around my leg below the knee to stop the poison from spreading through my body. They carried me to a boat and we went to see a man who sucked the poison out. I cried the whole time and I was terrified that I was going to die. A neighbour was bitten around


age will disappear

the same time and she died. The place is teeming with snakes when the floods come, and many people die of snakebites every year. Many die because we have to travel a long way to get to a doctor and it costs a lot of money. Things are hardest for us when the floods come, because so many people get sick. I got an eye infection and a rash. My brother had a fever. Almost everyone in the village gets diarrhoea since it’s hard to fi nd clean drinking water when the dirty river water spills over into our wells and pumps. A few days after being bitten I started to feel better. I paddled around on the banana raft and gathered leaves from the trees for our cows and goats, since they had nowhere to graze. In the end we had to sell our animals to get money for food, since our fields and vegetable patches were under water. Lots of us had to sell cows and goats in order to survive, so everyone got much less money for them than usual.” No school “The floods lasted for three months. During that time, almost all schools were closed – mine too. The schools were destroyed and it was impossible to get there because of all the water. Most of them still haven’t opened again and it’s so awful not to be able to go to school. We are missing out on our education and that’s no good. Without a good education it’s impossible to have a decent standard of living here in Bangladesh. You remain poor and it’s hard to support your family. Other people often take advantage of poor


The snake that bit Rebeka came out of a haystack.

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Favourite things “I collect nail polish and makeup. Sometimes I get some money from my mum and then I buy nail polish from the travelling salesman who passes by on his bike now and again. Nail polish is my favourite possession,” says Rebeka.

people who can’t read or write. For example, if you can’t read you might believe that by putting your thumbprint on a piece of paper you’re agreeing to borrow money, when actually you’re being tricked into giving away all your land! I think it’s terrible! Education is most important for us girls. If a girl completes her education she has a much better chance of a decent life. She can make her own decisions and other people, even family members, lis-

ten to her much more. What she says becomes more important. In Bangladesh we have a law to prevent girls under 18 from being married off, but it is often broken. Many girls of my age are already married. I think that’s so wrong! At this stage we are still children and we need to learn and develop, not live an adult life. If girls like us get an education I believe we have a much better chance of avoiding being married off at a young age. When I grow up I want to be

Hard to play “We usually play hide-and-seek and skipping. But during the flooding it’s impossible to play outside. We are stuck inside our houses. Sometimes we play Ludo,” says Rebeka.


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Idols “My idols are the film stars Salman Shah and Sabnur. We don’t have a TV, but one of our neighbours does. There is no electricity here so he connects the TV to a battery,” says Rebeka.

a teacher. I’ll fight to ensure that all children, especially poor children and girls, have the chance to go to school.” Scared of dying “We have always had floods, but they have become much worse in recent years. There is more water in the river now and the floods come at strange times of the year. When the water rises there are massive landslides and huge areas of land collapse into the river. Buildings and people are dragged in and children die. If things carry on like this I’m afraid my whole village will disappear. Where will we go then? I really don’t know what will happen to us, and I’m worried about the future. Lots of people will die trying to escape the waters.” 

“Even though our house was ruined, we were still lucky. The water washed many people’s houses away altogether. People lost everything they owned and many died. We were able to repair our house and my whole family survived,” says Rebeka.

Global Vote at Rebeka’s school The school in Rebeka’s village, Borotia Primary School, has been closed for over three months because of the flooding. The water level was high inside the classrooms. Everyone is desperate to go back to school. And this year everyone in year four and year five is extra excited. They are going to participate in the Global Vote for the first time! 39

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Liton’s home disappeared I

“Wake up everybody! Wake up! The house is “ awoke with a start. The ground under the house collapsing into the river,” shouted Liton’s mother was moving. I was terrified we in the middle of the night.

would all die if we fell into the water. We tried to take some food and other stuff, but everything happened so fast. There were deep cracks in the ground around the house. As soon as everyone had jumped over the cracks, the ground behind us collapsed into the river and the house was sucked down into the wild waters. Everything was gone.”


Cousin drowned “We slept under the stars. After a couple of days, the water came all the way up to

Forced to work “When my youngest brother was born and there were five of us in the family, I had to quit school. We couldn’t get by on dad’s salary so I had to go to work. I was ten then. Since then, I’ve been working full time in the fields. When I come home I’m so tired I can’t even be bothered to play. My greatest dream is to go back to school,” says Liton.

Build a banana raft! 1. Cut down four banana trees. 2. Remove the outer bark so that the logs are smooth. 3. Make a rope from dried jute. 4. Cut down a bamboo cane. Cut it into four parts. 5. Put the four logs in the water. Tie them together with the jute rope. Stabilise by tying the four bamboo poles across the raft. 6. Seal the gaps between the logs with banana leaves. 7. Cut down a long bamboo cane to use to paddle the raft.


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the road where we had taken refuge. Then I built a banana raft so that we could save ourselves and the things we had left. I made the fi rst trip to a safer place with our stuff, along with my cousin Akash, 6. Suddenly I realised that Akash wasn’t on the raft any more. I paddled back and forth and shouted for him. But he didn’t answer. I went back and told the family what had happened. We swam around in the water and tried to fi nd him. Three hours later his body came to the surface. I loved my cousin and I still feel guilty, even though nobody is angry with me. Not even his parents – they say it was an accident. After my cousin died, a relative of my mother let us build

Banana trees save lives! “We wouldn’t survive the floods without the banana trees. All the families in the village cut down trees and build rafts when we notice the water level in the river starting to rise. Most people cook their food on rafts. We also use rafts to reach places where we can get food and clean water. We even use rafts to save ourselves, our animals and our things from the floods. The banana trees save our lives!” says Rebeka.

a small house on his land. But now he wants to sell the land. Since we are poor and we don’t own any land our only hope is to build a house on the government land again, closest to the river. All the poor people live there. And when the water comes, we will be worst hit. I’m scared that the new house will collapse into the water too, when the river bursts its banks. The next time we might not wake up, we might all die.” 

“I have one day off a week, when I play cricket or football with my friends. I love it! My bat and ball disappeared when the house fell into the river, but my family survived and that’s the most important thing,” says Liton.

We use the whole tree! As well as eating the tree’s fruit – bananas – and using the trunks to make rafts, the children in Borotia also use banana leaves… …as plates when there’s a party and there are not enough normal plates for everyone… …and as umbrellas and parasols!

10 million homeless As a result of this year’s flooding in Bangladesh: • Almost a thousand people died. 800 drowned and 100 died from snakebites. The rest died as a result of illnesses caused by the floods, such as diarrhoea. • Ten million people were made homeless. • 10,000 schools were destroyed. 41

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I am free!

“When I was about 6 years old, I was taking my parents’ cattle out to graze with my friends when a man offered us sweets. I ended up being kidnapped and forced to work as a slave for 6 years,” says Rakesh Kumar, 13, from India. He is now a member of the World’s Children’s Prize jury.



hen we ate the sweets that the man gave us I felt something was wrong and got scared. I shouldn’t have gone off with a stranger without telling my mother. The sweets had something bad in them that made us too sick to run away from him. My friends and I were put on a train. I began to cry. I knew that we were being kidnapped and I tried to run away, but I was caught and told that I would be in a car

accident if I tried it again. All of my friends and I were sold to rich people. I felt powerless because I was just a little village boy. They moved me to different houses until I got to a place where I was forced to work as a slave for 6 years. I was given tea with drugs in it in the mornings. If I refused to drink it, I was beaten and forced to swallow it. I worked from five in the morning to about ten at night. I had to keep the house clean for the family who owned me. They had children who went to school, but I had to work. I had to cut the grass and often cut my fi ngers, as I was dizzy from the drugs in the tea. Sometimes I would pass out in the field, but nobody cared. I carried bricks and tried not to complain so I wouldn’t get beaten. The nights were hard for me. In the winters, they gave me alcohol to keep me warm instead of letting me into their home. I had to sleep outside

in the cowshed and tend the animals on top of my other duties. The warmth from the alcohol didn’t last long. I felt cold and lonely. I would cry at night thinking about my parents. My father searched for me for years. He was told that I was dead, but he didn’t give up. They threatened to beat him, but he asked for help from an agency that rescues children from slavery. After a long search they were able to save me. I am now at a rehabilitation centre where I can play and attend school with other boys who have had similar experiences. Children should not be forced to work as I had to. We have rights.” 

Rakesh represents slave children, children in hazardous labour, and children who ‘don’t exist’ because their birth was never registered.


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/ The jury decides which of the candidates should receive the World’s Children’s Prize for their work for the rights of the child. And the children in the jury really are experts on the rights of the child – from their own experience! The jury children primarily represent all the children in the world whose experiences they share. However, each child also represents the children of their country and their continent. Where possible, the jury comprises children from all continents and all major religions. On pages 36–39 you can read about jury member Rebeka Aktar from Bangladesh, and opposite this page, on page 42, you can read about jury member Rakesh Kumar from India. On the following pages you can read about a further fourteen jury members. One more child will be appointed to the jury before the 2008 WCPRC.

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“My stepfather often used to hit my mother. We also received threats because he had debts with drug dealers. Sometimes my mother had to pay them off instead of buying food for us. When I was eight I ran away from home and started living on the street. I stole everything I could and sold it for food and everything else that I needed. At night I slept outside a bank in the city centre, under a piece of tarpaulin. I was often scared at night. My friend taught me how to smoke marijuana. I smoked more and more and used other drugs too. I stole watches, jewellery and sunglasses and other things in the city centre. I asked the dealer I sold the stuff to for a gun. I never used it on people but used to shoot into the air, and once I shot a rat. I moved back home, but the violence continued. One night my mother asked me if I wanted to live with her or with my step-father, I answered that I wanted to be with her. She told me to wait. Then I heard a shot from the room where my stepfather was sleeping. Then I ran away again. My mother caught hold of me and beat me as punishment. She didn’t know what she was going to do with me. But she took me to Circo de Todo Mundo (Everybody’s Cir­cus) where children like me learn to do circus tricks. I live in their home and go to school. Life’s good for me now. What street children need most is love.” Railander represents children who live/work on the street.

Idalmin Santana, 17, USA Idalmin was nine when her mother and father were arrested by the police. “What are you doing?” she asked the police, crying. “You’re too young to understand,” said a police officer. “Where are you taking my mom?” Idalmin asked. “I love my mom”. At first, Idalmin and her sisters moved in with their grandmother. Every day she asked her grandmother, “When are my parents coming home?” Her grandmother just kept saying, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow.” “It was as though my parents had died.” “The first time I visited mom in prison, visiting time finished after one hour. Just imagine you haven’t seen your mom for ages, and then you only get one hour! I cried every morning for that first year.” During the first few years Idalmin and her sisters went to stay with different relatives and friends. It was a difficult time. Idalmin became ill and began to skip school. Things improved when she and her sisters ended up in the same foster family. Once a week, Idalmin meets with other girls whose parents are in prison. They have fun and talk at events about children whose parents are in prison. In 2005, after six years, Idalmin’s mother was released. Idalmin represents the children of prisoners.

 phOTO : martim guerr asilva

Jury children experts on the rights of the child

Railander Pablo Freitas de Souza, 14, BRAZIL


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Mary Smart, 16, SIERRA LEONE When Mary was nine her father, older brother and younger sister were killed in the civil war in Sierra Leone. She hid out in the forest. “When I’m out in the forest, it still feels like the rebels could come out of the bushes and kill me at any time. I also think a lot about how they killed my father and about my brother’s cry, ‘Mary help me! Help me! They’re taking me!’, on that night when the rebels took him away. We later heard that all the children who had been kidnapped that night had been killed. The very next night they found us in the forest. They took my little sister, who was only six, and killed her. I still feel so bad that I couldn’t save my brother and sister, but I was only nine years old and there was nothing I could do. We found shelter from the rain under the big trees. Many people fell ill with malaria. At night we looked for cassava and ate it raw - otherwise the smoke from our fire might have attracted the rebels. The worst things were the fear and the silence. Everyone was silent. It was almost as if even the birds in the forest had stopped singing. I cried a lot.” For four years, Mary couldn’t go to school because of the war. When the war was over the rebels had destroyed her school. Now it has been rebuilt. “Finally I can learn things again. I want to be a doctor or a lawyer and fight for children’s rights,” says Mary. Mary represents children who have had their rights violated in armed conflicts.

Omar Bandak, 17 PALESTINE

Maïmouna Diouf, 17, SENEGAL

“Life has been a nightmare since I was eleven years old. One evening while we were watching TV we heard a helicopter circling overhead. Then they shot a rocket towards a neighbouring building, the headquarters for the Palestinian police and border patrols. They fired a lot of rockets and it felt like being in the middle of an earthquake. The next night, an F-16 plane came and fired rocket after rocket. Our whole house shook and all the windows were shattered. I cried and fell on the pieces of glass. The fourth rocket was the strongest of all – I flew right over our neighbour, whose house we had fled into. We used to go on outings to places like Jerusalem and Jericho. Here in Bethlehem these days, there is only home and school to go to. But even though we have a right to education, we can’t even always go to school. During the curfew we can’t even leave the house. One of the rights of the child is being able to feel safe and secure – but we Palestinian children can’t. All we want is peace, and to live without tanks and soldiers. I want to be able to feel like other children in the world.” Omar represents children in conflict areas and living under occupation.

Maïmouna lives in a suburb of the capital of Senegal, Dakar. Around one third of all Senegal’s children are not registered at birth. Maïmouna believes that even fewer children are registered in the neighbourhood where she lives. Since the age of eight, Maïmouna has been actively involved in an organisation that works for the rights of the child. In her opinion, registration at birth is one of the most important rights a child has. “In our country, far too many children are not registered at birth. Without a birth certificate you can’t go to school, you can’t travel, you can’t even be a citizen in your own country.” When Maïmouna is asked about her favourite things, she spreads some pieces of paper out on the ground. “This is probably my favourite thing, since I always carry it around with me.” It is a pile of documents and papers on the rights of the child that she has collected. The group of which she is a member often meets to discuss the rights of the child, but also to conduct various campaigns in the neighbourhood. “We have organised our own registration campaigns. In one afternoon alone I managed to register 54 children in one neighbourhood.” Maïmouna represents children who fight for respect for the rights of the child.


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But the most important thing is that we act. We have to do something about it.” Ofek represents children in conflict areas and children who want to have a dialogue for peace.

Ofek Rafaeli, 14, ISRAEL “I help out at a centre for animals that are at risk of extinction. Soon I’m going to start working as a volunteer at a shelter for abused women. I’ll be spending time with the children of the women, who live there too. We talk a lot about the conflict between Israel and Palestine at home and at school. Haifa, where I live, is one of the biggest cities that is home to both Arabs and Jews and I meet lots of Arab people at school and in my free time. I really like spending time with all kinds of people, and I don’t see any differences. It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or Muslim, Israeli or Palestinian. For me, the rights of the child are about all children being free and having the same opportunities. In Israel, many of the rights of the child are violated. Children have a right to protection and to live without the constant fear that they or someone in their family is going to be killed. During the war between Israel and Hizbullah in the summer of 2006, we sometimes had to run to the bomb shelter every ten minutes, sometimes every hour. Many people think the war was only Hizbullah’s fault, but I don’t think that. I think that Israel was in the wrong too, and that we shouldn’t be in Lebanon. When we talk about the conflict in school, lots of people don’t care and don’t want to know. I think we should be afraid – it doesn’t help to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

Hassana Hameida Hafed, 17, WESTERN SAHARA Hasana was born in a refugee camp in the Algerian desert, and has spent all his life there. His parents come from Western Sahara. Their country was invaded by Morocco almost thirty years ago, and today some 170,000 Western Saharans live in huge refugee camps in the Sahara Desert. “I have never seen my country, but one day I hope to. I think that all children who are refugees should have the right to return to their home countries.” All the children living in the desert camps go to school. It’s impossible to pursue any higher studies in the camps. “But I want to continue my studies in an Algerian school, because I want to get an education. All the people who live in the camps have discoloured, rotten teeth. That’s because the water we drink is bad. When I grow up, I want to be a dentist. I want to help people have healthy, white teeth.” Hasana represents children who are refugees.

Gabatshwane Gumede, 13, SOUTH AFRICA Both Gabatshwane’s parents died of AIDS when she was small. She lives with her older brother Vusi in the town of Lethabong-Rustenberg in South Africa. After her parents died, people were afraid of catching HIV from Gaba. Even though a test proved that she didn’t have HIV, nobody wanted to be friends with her. When Gaba was little she fell into a basin of boiling water and was badly burned on her right arm and leg. “They laughed at me in school and I was always alone.” 80% of people in Lethabong are unemployed. Many are young people who are drawn into crime. 20% of the town’s population are HIV positive and many children are orphans. Children’s rights are often violated, most frequently by family members. Gaba’s big brother Vusi helped her start a band, simply called Gabatshwane. She has performed for her idol Nelson Mandela many times. Gaba uses the money she makes from the band to buy food for the poor. She gives food parcels to school friends who are orphans. “I demand that politicians work for the rights of the child. I have discussed this with the Minister of Education and I made an opening speech about the rights of the child at our provincial government here in North West Province. I started an organisation called Bana Ke Bokamoso which means ‘children are the future’ and fights for the rights of the child.” Gabatshwane represents children who have been orphaned because of AIDS and children who fight for the rights of vulnerable children.


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Sukumaya Magar, 16, NEPAL “When I was 11, my parents could no longer afford to keep me in school. I was fetching grass for our animals when a man approached me and asked if I wanted a job at a hotel in town. I told my parents about the man’s proposal. They said no, but I ran away with the man. First, we took a bus. But when we boarded a train to Mumbai in India, I began to wonder. I was taken to a brothel. The first month, I was given a course in dancing. But then they told me I had to begin working at the brothel. I refused, and they tortured me. They treated me as a slave and I was forced to be with men. But one wonderful day two months later, I was liberated and could return to Nepal. Now I attend Maiti Nepal’s school. When I finish my studies, I want to help Maiti fight against the trafficking of girls, and to warn girls so they won’t be duped the way I was.” Sukumaya represents and fights for children who are slaves in brothels, as well as girls who are abused.

Hannah Taylor, 12, CANADA Hannah, from Winnipeg, is the youngest advocate for Canada’s homeless, both adults and children. She strongly supports the basic right of a child to have a home, in Canada and all over the world. It all started when Hannah was five years old and she saw a man eating out of a garbage can. Since then she has spoken about homelessness across Canada, to school children, politicians, business-

men, the Prime Minister, and others, telling everyone that nobody should have to be homeless. Hannah started an organisation called the Lady­ bug Foundation, and now they are starting a programme called ‘Make Change’ for schools all over Canada. “We want to show everyone that they can get involved and make a difference for homeless people and for the rights of the child, where we live and all over the world,” says Hannah. Hannah’s foundation has raised over 1 million US dollars for homeless projects and organisations. “We all need to share a little of what we have and care about each other always,” says Hannah. She believes it’s important for homeless people to feel that someone likes them. “When I visited a shelter for homeless teenagers in Toronto I experienced something I’ll never forget. As I was leaving I gave all the children a hug. A child who had been among the quietest stepped forward and said, ‘Until today I thought nobody liked me, but now I know that you like me.’” Hannah represents children fighting for other children’s rights, especially for the rights of homeless children.

Isabel Mathé, 16, MOZAMBIQUE Isabel was born one year before peace was declared in Mozambique. At least two million anti-personnel mines had been placed throughout the country, and when Isabel was four, she stepped on one of them. It was a powerful explosion, and Isabel’s right leg could not be saved. She was taken to the hospital in Maputo and fitted for an artificial leg. It was made of plastic and iron, and weighed eight kilos. Isabel couldn’t even lift her new leg, and it took six months for her to learn to walk again. When Isabel had used her artificial leg for eight years, it began to chafe her skin. “I had heard about a place a long way away where they make new legs.” Isabel got up at dawn and walked all day until she arrived at the Red Cross’ orthopaedic cli­ nic, just as the sun was going down. Her new artificial leg is made of aluminium and weighs less than the old one. Now she can walk quickly, but it’s still a long way to the ‘real’ school. The school that she attends has neither walls nor a roof. Today, Mozambique is meant to be free of mines, but Isabel knows that there are still mines in the area. “There are places where you shouldn’t go, but you can never really be sure. If it rains a lot, the mines can be flushed out with the mud and turn up later just about anywhere,” says Isabel. Isabel represents children with physical disabilities and children who have been injured in war.


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Laury Cristina Hernández Petano, 16, COLOMBIA Nga has always felt like an outThai Thi Nga, 16, VIETNAM

Amy Lloyd, 14, UNITED KINGDOM “I am living in a children’s home. I guess that is because my mum has never really been there for me. She used to leave me alone for days on end and when she did come home all she said was ‘What have you been doing?’ And then she would have a go at me. Then when I started secondary school I made lots of friends. When I was 10 or 11 she rang Social Services and told them that if I stayed with her my life would be in danger, and she would kill me. That same day, someone from Social Services came and it was time for me to go. I was taken to a stranger’s house where I kept asking myself what I had done wrong. All I was told by my mum was that it was my fault, and for a while I believed her. I blamed myself for a really long time. Then I suddenly realised that it wasn’t my fault. All I have ever wanted is a proper family who will love me no matter what I do, no matter what I look like, who will just love me for being me. Don’t get me wrong; my dad has always been there for me. He would get me anything that I needed, like clothes. He bought me a phone so I could ring him at any time. Now I have nice things, I live in a nice home, I have loads of friends and I am doing really well with my education. I am studying Health and Social Care Level 3.” Amy represents children who are separated from their families and living in public care.

sider. “The other children looked at me like I was a kind of monster.” Everyone at school was scared and kept away from me. I was so ashamed I never left the house. If my only friend, Huong, hadn’t encouraged me to carry on, I would have never returned to school. When the teacher told us that we were going to have a class party I saved up some money for it and contributed more than anyone else in the class. I dreamed about having fun with the others and hoped that they would understand my situation. But when the party started, the others took all the cakes and fruit and ran away from me. It was the worst moment of my life.” Nga lives in the country. Her father was a victim of Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide that the USA sprayed over Vietnam during a long war. But even though Nga wasn’t born during the war, she was still affected by it. What Agent Orange did to her father’s body was passed down to her and her sister. Nga has chromosome disorders and brown spots all over her face and body. Nga represents children with disa­bilities; children who have been affected by poisonous substances used in war and bullied children. Now Nga goes to a new school and she is happy there.

Laury lived in Carmen de Bolivar, in northern Colombia, with her mother and grandmother when one day, a strange man began to leave avocados and coconuts at the family’s door. The family sold them at the market, but at the same time they felt threatened. In civil war Colombia, armed groups often give gifts to poor families in order to buy their loyalty. In the village where Laury lived there was fighting between armed groups and a lot of organised crime. Laury and her family managed to escape from there and came to the ‘Nelson Mandela’ settlement as internal refugees. They built a shack made of planks of wood, sheet metal and cardboard. Every time it rained they had to build a new one. Now they live in a concrete house, but it is right at the bottom of a steep slope, so the house fills with water whenever there is heavy rain. Laury works hard at school and is a member of several children’s groups which fight for peace. She sells her mother’s ‘deditos’ (corn sticks) at school every day to help the family get by. “We are poor and have been through many hardships, but I’m not ashamed of it – I’m proud!” Laury represents children in war-torn areas, refugees and children who fight for peace and the rights of the child.


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Arabic: The Globe 47  

The WCPRC Global Vote-magazine no 47

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