In South Africa, we have all witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights.
The purpose of our YHR program is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.
Children are the future. They need to know their human rights and know that they must take responsibility to protect themselves and their peers. As they become aware and active in this cause, the message travels far and wide, and someday universal human rights will be a fact, not just an idealistic dream.
The United Nations General Assembly proposed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories” (United Nations, 1948).
The charter of our Youth for Human Rights program is to forward that aim with simple yet empowering, high-quality human rights education materials for youth, teachers, officials—anyone.
We intend to teach human rights education both in the classroom and in nontraditional educational settings. We aim to reach people from diverse backgrounds, with materials which often appeal across generations. By teaching human rights through conferences and workshops this message will spread across our country.
Our materials include 30 short public service message videos which depict the 30 Articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In less than a minute, youth can learn one of their human rights—and all of them in less than half an hour.
Our human rights videos and curricula need to fill the schoolrooms and halls of learning with the simple messages of what our human rights are.
We realize the importance of collaborating with like-minded individuals and groups to expand our horizons and learn from them their hard-earned lessons, and so expand and reach youth in all provinces.
“We are here because we know that literacy is the key to unlocking the cage of human misery; the key to delivering the potential of every human being; the key to opening up a future of freedom and hope. We are here to open a decade that must translate that hope into reality.” —Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General, United Nations.