This week, as part of our whole school learning about the United Nations Convention of The Rights of The Child, Mrs Tetley led us in a ‘Rights Respecting’ assembly focusing upon articles 28 and 31 from The Convention:
Mrs Tetley told us all the following story about a young boy named Joseph:
“This is Joseph from Sudan in north-east Africa. He made a New Year’s resolution and, although it is sometimes hard, he is sticking to it. Joseph is walking to school. He walks along dusty, pot-holed tracks rather than tarmac pavements. First, he climbs a series of very steep and rutted tracks. Then he scrambles along a dangerously high path through a banana plantation. Only then can he even see his school in the distance, on top of a small hill, at the end of a deep red earth track. From the hill you can see the surrounding hills stretching away in the distance, with villages dotted amongst them. Children from these villages also have to make long, dangerous walks to get to this school. The school he attends is made up of three small buildings. There are two single-storey classrooms and a two-room shack that is both an office for the teachers and a storage space for books and a few items of basic sports equipment. The classrooms are bare except for low wooden benches and desks and a large blackboard. It is in one of these classrooms that Joseph eagerly does his lessons every day. Joseph gets up at sunrise to work on his vegetable patch before walking to school. He grows tomatoes and aubergines (or eggplant). Morning and evening, he has to fetch water for the patch from the stream at the bottom of a steep hill. When he gets home from school, Joseph feed his chickens. He rears them to sell eggs. Joseph’s first brood of chickens was killed by an eagle, so he bought some more and made a chicken coop from sticks and leaves to protect them. You might wonder why Joseph walks so far to school and has to raise chickens and vegetables. It’s because he lives with his grandmother and younger sister and has to support them. With the money he gets from selling vegetables and eggs, he can buy schoolbooks and clothes for him and his younger sister. He can also give his grandmother money to buy things for the house, such as paraffin for the stove, salt and soap. Joseph has made a resolution that he will continue his walk to school because he knows that one day, with an education, he may get a job that pays enough to look after his grandmother and sister. Joseph says, “I don’t have much time to play, but life without this school would mean no education and no skills for me. I am proud, because my friends and I are doing our best, trying to succeed in life. I would really like to learn to be a mechanic.”
We considered the messages we could take and learn from this story – and Mrs Tetley highlighted key words such as responsibilities, learning, helping, choice, rights and justice. We then talked about how Joseph’s right’s to a free education and to play were not being met and how we could show the same determination as him by always making the best of our own opportunities and our own free education in this country.
The children (and staff) really enjoyed this assembly!
Indeed, some children were so interested that Mrs Tetley has had to subsequently go and find a globe and copy a world map to answer some of the children’s questions about where in the world Joseph lived! She has proudly displayed these outside of her door!
Over the forthcoming weeks, we will be continuing to learn about our rights and the rights of other children in the world in our ‘Rights Respecting’ weekly assemblies.