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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov. 7, 2002

Lower Mainland Students Seek Solutions for Students in Afghanistan

Understanding Children’s Rights

By Erica Smishek

Think globally, act locally.

That’s what students at two Lower Mainland schools will do as they take part in a worldwide challenge to improve education for youth in Afghanistan. In October, the Youth Millennium Project launched pilot projects at Princess Margaret and Britannia Elementary Schools as a prelude to “Challenge 2003: Afghani Children and Education,” which begins in January 2003.

Different teacher packages will be tested at these schools to ensure students understand material designed to bring attention to what life is like for children in Afghanistan. The students will then design their own projects for Challenge 2003.

Lisa Thomas-Tench, executive director of the Youth Millennium Project, says the goal of Challenge 2003 is to encourage youth around the world to get involved and to help the children of Afghanistan participate in education and secure a more promising future for themselves and their country.

The Youth Millennium Project is a joint initiative of UNICEF and the Faculty of Education at UBC. It was founded in 1999 by UBC grads Justine Wiltshire and Rebecca Slate, who invited youth around the world to discuss issues important to them and carry out a local plan of action. Today the project has more than 10,000 participants in 80 countries.

UNICEF and the Afghanistan Ministry of Education report a massive return of children to the classroom. Nearly 1.25 million children are now attending school in 20 provinces, with the enrollment of girls more than 90 per cent higher than last year.

“We don’t want to focus on causes,” Thomas-Tench says. “We want kids to understand children’s rights and get ideas for what is necessary to create positive change.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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