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Overview: This activity stimulates thinking about the needs of children, links human rights to human needs, and increases familiarity with the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) or the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Time: 60 minutes

Materials: Chart paper, markers, tape.
Copies of the UDHR and/or CRC
(You can find a copy - it's not too long to print - at: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/index.htm)


1. Working in small groups, participants draw a large outline of a child

This will represent a new-born member of the community.

(Variation for young children: Draw the outline of one member of the group)

2. The group decides on a name for the child and writes it below the child's figure.

3. The group then decides on the mental, physical, spiritual, and character qualities they would like this child to have as an adult. (e.g., good health, sense of humor, kindness).and writes these qualities inside the outline of the child. They might also make symbols on or around the child to represent these ideal qualities (e.g. books to represent education).

4. Inside the outline the group lists the human and material resources the child will need to achieve these qualities (e.g., if the child is to be healthy, it will need food and health care).

5. Using the CRC and/or the UDHR, the group identifies the articles that guarantee a child each of these needs and writes the number of the article(s) next to that item on the list. Any needs that are not covered by the convention are circled.

6. Each group posts its "child" on the wall, "introduces" the new member of the community, and explains its choices. As a need is linked to a right, a member of the small group reads that article from a simplified version of the CRC.

7. Discusses the features common to most posters:

What were the most common needs? Why?
Were some needs listed only once or twice? Should they also be considered important for all children?
Were any needs not covered by the convention? How can this omission be explained?

Going Further

Which of these essential needs are provided or not provided for children in your country?
Where does responsbility lie for meeting these needs?
Why are some essential needs not provided?
What action can be taken to meet these needs?

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