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Chichester pupils inspired to action by Ugandan young rights activists

A ten year old school pupil from Chichester has been motivated by a visit to Uganda to make changes to his own Student Council

Stanley Wilkes, who attends Jessie Younghusband school in Chichester, travelled to Uganda at the end of October with Children on the Edge, a Chichester based NGO that supports some of the most marginalised children around the world.

During his time in the country, he explored how Ugandan Child Rights Clubs are making a difference in poor communities surrounding the city of Jinja. Now back home, Stanley is exploring with his friends how they can put what he has learnt into practice.  

At a meeting of the Loco Child Rights Club, Stanley asked questions on behalf of the student council and heard members explain how they have succeeded in getting children into school and cleaning up the community.

He also attended a Child Rights Club workshop in Wandago, where the club presented to over 100 children from the local primary school, teaching them all about their rights and responsibilities.

Wandago Child Rights Club presentation

Stanley also conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with children from both areas about what makes them feel safe in their communities. He said:

The children here have to deal with loads of things that we don’t often have to, and sometimes when they go to adults to talk about making a change, the adults have an angry response to them, but they just keep going.

Stanley has recently presented his findings at a full school assembly and has ideas about litter picks, teaching about child rights, writing to local government about the environment and doing a poster campaign.

Paul Neaves, Deputy Headteacher, said:

We’re looking forward to the School Council putting into practice what Stanley has learnt in Uganda and leading an assembly about the rights of the child in the new year. They will also be inviting children to come and find the School Council at Surgeries and then putting together small working parties to tackle problems as they arise.

Other local schools have already expressed an interest in taking Jessie Younghusband’s lead and implementing some of the ideas from Uganda.

Naturally no trip would be complete without a few good games of football, which was one of Stanley’s highlights. He added:

I really liked playing with the children, it’s no different to playing with friends at home. They don’t play video games, but apart from that it was the same. I feel like the world sees a lot of people in poorer countries as gloomy and isolated, but they’re not, they’re enjoying life. The main thing I can learn from them is that they believe in what they do, and they don’t let anything get in the way.

Photo: Children on the Edge