Today on International Human Rights Day, we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the UN General Assembly in 1948. The UDHR became the foundation for international human rights law, outlining 30 rights and freedoms guaranteed to each and every person across the world.
As we celebrate Human Rights Day, we must also recognize this year’s important theme, Youth Stand Up for Human Rights. Young people are key drivers of political, economic, and social transformation, and today they are organizing and speaking out for their right to a future of peace, prosperity, and equal opportunity. It is crucial to support young people in these endeavors and provide them with the platform and skills to become agents of change. There is much to be done in the global fight for human rights, and youth participation is critically important to achieving sustainable development and positive social change.
Here at Kakenya’s Dream, it is our mission to ensure that our girls’ rights are upheld and protected, but we also believe it is equally important to equip them with the knowledge they need to understand their rights and become their own strongest advocates. Through our holistic, rights-based curriculum at our boarding schools and Health and Leadership Trainings, we are creating a generation of Maasai youth in rural Kenya who know their rights and demand that they be upheld.
Our Health and Leadership Training program provides youth in our area with vital instruction on life skills, leadership, self defense, human rights, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and more. In our community, there is little education or available information about topics like sexual and reproductive health and human rights. Being in a remote, rural area with limited access to resources, such information is largely unavailable. Our programs aim to address this scarcity of education and information on these important subjects with engaging weekly workshops led by skilled facilitators. Through group discussions, skits, role playing, and even puppet shows, our experienced facilitators impart knowledge and health information and dispel myths and misconceptions about harmful traditional practices common to our region, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
These trainings, coupled with quality, holistic education at our boarding schools prepare our students and other youth in our area to become vocal advocates for human rights and gender equality. Our students are changing community attitudes and working to bring an end to forms of gender-based violence like FGM and child marriage. We are proud to see what powerful agents of change they have become in their communities.
Now more than ever, young people are resisting, marching, and claiming their rights, and our girls are at the center of this important global movement. In celebration of Human Rights Day, join us in supporting and protecting youth as they stand up for human rights today, and every day.