International Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on December 10th, commemorating the day in 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations. This declaration was created to help all people achieve dignity, freedom and equality. In honour of this special day, Girl Guides of Canada produced an Instant Meeting to encourage units to take part in activities to learn more about human rights. We chose to use activities from the Instant Meeting and from Right Now!, a resource from Girlguiding UK (2007).
Download the GGC Instant Meeting
As the girls arrived, they played a tag game, after which we held our usual opening ceremony and played an active game.
We started out by discussing what human rights are and shared the following explanation:
"Human rights are basic, fundamental rights that belong to everyone. They are freedoms, opportunities, and ways of treating one another that all human beings deserve." (GGC Instant Meeting)
Our first activity was called Picture Your World (Right Now!, page 26). The girls were divided into 3 groups and given supplies to draw a picture of something that is important to them. Here's the catch: the groups were uneven and not given equal supplies. The girls could only use the supplies provided and could not visit or speak to the other groups - they could, however, observe.
- Group 1: 2 girls, 1 sheet of paper per girl, a pencil with an eraser for each girl, a full set of sharpened pencil crayons.
- Group 2: 4 girls, 2 sheets of paper, 2 pencils without erasers, a handful of pencil crayons, some unsharpened and not covering every colour.
- Group 3: 7 girls, 1 sheet of scrap paper, one pencil without an eraser, a handful of pencil crayons and markers - most unsharpened or not working.
The next activity was Gagged! (Right Now!, page 141). Each girl drew a slip of paper with a '1' or a '2' on it. The girls with a 2 on their paper were not allowed to speak or make themselves heard during the following discussion. We then talked about food storage and water purification as another clause towards the Outdoor Cooking badge that we started at camp. Once we finished, we discussed how the people who couldn't speak felt to be unheard, how they reacted when they wanted to respond to a question or what someone else had said, and how those who could speak felt about having a voice when others did not. We then moved the discussion onto groups or individuals who are unable to make themselves heard and who looks after their rights. (Ideas about groups that might not have a voice included people living in poverty, the position of a particular group within a larger society, being a girl or woman, having no voice - such as animals or the environment.)
We then had a break for an active game - Ladders, followed by Everybody's It Tag.
Afterwards, we started an activity called Right Old Journey (Right Now!, page 10). Each Patrol received a sheet of paper with 20 rights, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They then had to discuss and come to agreements on which rights they felt were the least important until they were left with only one right. As a group, we discussed the right that each group had kept - Peace, Safety, Health Care, and Education. We also talked about which rights they gave up first, and what it might be like to actually live without them.
Food, Own Culture, Money, Clothes
Transport, Shelter, Peace, Water
Safety, Religion, Education, Privacy
Play/Leisure, Health Care, Family, An Opinion
The final activity of the evening was Guide Rights (GGC Instant Meeting). As a group, we came up with a list of Rights that we have as members of our Unit.
The meeting ended with a sing-song, announcements and reminders for next week, and Taps.