UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov.
Lower Mainland Students Seek Solutions for Students in Afghanistan
Understanding Childrens Rights
By Erica Smishek
Think globally, act locally.
Thats 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
We dont want to focus on causes, Thomas-Tench
says. We want kids to understand childrens rights
and get ideas for what is necessary to create positive change.