People speak of human rights, but what about children’s rights? What kind of world do your students deserve?
Whether we are teachers, parents, friends, trusted friends, or community members, we are significant influences on the health and happiness of young people. From adopting public policy to acknowledging a child’s birthday, there are many real ways to show a young person, I care. You matter.
YES! recommends the Centre for Child Honouring and the Voices [Education Project] for embracing young people’s rights to be safe, respected, and loved. Both organizations’ rich and treasured resources get to the heart of what it takes to create the vibrant, loving, and peaceful world that all children—and people—need and deserve.
The world knows him as Raffi, but he is more than the beloved songwriter and voice of the classic childhood song, “Baby Beluga". In 2010, Raffi Cavoukian established the non-profit Centre for Child Honouring to advance Child Honouring as a universal code of conduct, and as a guide to societies for defining their priorities.
We are honored to share the Covenant for Honouring Children and other resources from the Centre that emphasize children are our first priority.
“We find these joys to be self-evident, that all children are created whole …” Such is the first line of the Covenant for Honouring Children. Raffi wrote this emancipatory piece for young people in 1999 after he (not surprisingly) found no reference to children in the Declaration of Independence.
The core of the Covenant is a pledge to defend and nurture the well being of children. Nine principles lay the foundation for living and creating a peaceful and sustainable world.
Click here to view the Covenant for Honouring Children and its Principles.
Take Action Tips
What can I do? A simple but powerful beginning is to read the Covenant Principles to see how you might make them part of your everyday life and teaching. It may be empowering for your students to brainstorm this list of possibilities, too.
Find out more ways to take action here.
Child Honouring: How to Turn This World Around
Compelling. Brilliant. Essential. Raffi Cavoukian and author Sharna Olfman, along with child experts, spiritual leaders and others, spell out the challenges today’s children face. Using research, statistics, poetic inspiration, and bold thinking, this collective voice of child advocates articulates a plan to get our act together and create a better world for our kids.
Click here to learn more about the book.
For a free, downloadable version of “Child Honouring: How To Turn This World Around,” click here.
Calling All Beluga Grads
It’s estimated that over 10 million children listened to Raffi’s songs in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. If you’re one of these children, Raffi believes you have the will and the power to make this world a better place.
Click here to read Raffi’s message.
- Centre for Child Honouring
Additional resources and inspiration on how you can bring Child Honouring into schools.
- Children's Global Arts Project
The Victoria, British Columbia foundation invites students from around the world to create and exchange cultural art (painting, photo, film) in pursuit of "the world we want." Explore its art collection representing over 14 countries.
- Raffi’s recent motivational songs will inspire you. His songs “SustainABILITY” and “COOL IT” (the global cooling song) are also musical tools for learning. Download these and other free mp3s from his Resisto Dancing and Communion CDs here.
- Visit RaffiNews for the latest on the songwriter and child advocate’s efforts to bring peace, joy, and sustainability to the world.
- Lyrics to Raffi children's songs
You not only will shake your sillies out, you’ll also know all the words!
About the Centre for Child Honouring
The Centre for Child Honouring —on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada—is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing Child Honouring as a universal ethic and organizing principle for societal transformation. The Centre partners with other local and international like-minded organizations on programs and initiatives, including Design for Change, Kids vs. Global Warming, and iMatter March, to improve the lives and well being of children.
About Raffi Cavoukian
Raffi Cavoukian is known to millions, simply, as “Raffi.” The renowned Canadian songwriter and performer—once called the “most popular children’s entertainer in the western world” by the Washington Post—is also an author, ecology advocate, entrepreneur, and the founder of the Centre for Child Honouring. He is the quintessential, passionate advocate for children. Ask any Beluga Grad.
Who can resist a good story? A good story can move you to tears, make you burst into laughter, take you back to a beloved place in time (or a disturbing one), help you see the light, even unnerve you. Stories are powerful vehicles because they give people voice and, at the same time, let you into someone else’s world.
And that’s what Voices [Education Project] does so well. They masterfully tell stories—with a purpose. Creating peace one story at a time.
Voices’ menu of education resources feature people of different ages and backgrounds from all over the world. Your students not only will be taken by the artistry, but also by the honesty of these real-world tales.
Here are some of the many resources Voices [Education Project] offers teachers to help their students understand the roots and solutions of conflict. Take a look at these selections that focus on children (and their families), and their inherent need and right to grow up with respect and compassion.
Curriculum on “The Convention on the Rights of the Child”
In 1948, the United Nations adopted a monumental document, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” In its historical introduction, the declaration recognized the family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. Forty years later, in 1989, the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” was adopted.
For this education packet, Voices makes the articles of the Convention come alive—some illustrated through animated film—and include companion activities designed by Save the Children and Oxfam.
Curriculum on “Words and Violence”
“Words and Violence” gets right to the core of the power of words. A film that introduces the packet explores the magnitude of bullying and violence with words and how it affects our society. A series of activities includes a reflective exercise, “Words that Hurt,” contributed by several students and their teacher.
- "Words and Violence" introductory film
- “Words that Hurt” activity
- “Words and Violence” Education Packet
Playback: Stories that Need to be Heard
Through Playback, Voices demonstrates how stories help pull us out of our skin, connect us, and open our hearts to new possibilities. Your students will be mesmerized as they listen with awe and attention (and possibly disbelief) to the stories of young people who have overcome shocking conditions, and turned grief into goodness, with resilience and fortitude.
Fatmire Feka: Angel of Hope (Kosovo)
The story of Fatmire Feka tells of Fatmire’s life as a survivor of the War in Kosovo to her creation of an international organization, Kids for Peace Movement. Learn of Fatmire’s work today as she relates it in a moving speech, “Why Everything Must Change”.
Click here for Fatmire's Playback.
War Child: Emmanuel Jal (Sudan)
Emmanuel Jal was one of Sudan’s 10,000 child soldiers who fought in two civil wars for nearly a decade. This orphan’s slow journey back to life led him to a music career that produced a number one hip-hop single in Kenya and recordings with international musicians Moby, Bono, and Peter Gabriel.
Click here for Emmanuel's Playback.
Lily Ghebrai (Eritrea)
War has been a part of Lily Ghebrai’s family for a long time; Lily's father was 15 and her mother only 11 when they were forced to enlist in the Eritrean army. In 1994, Lily’s family came to the United States to escape the Eritrean war. Lily’s story traces her family’s journey and their difficult beginning years in America.
Click here for Lily's Playback.
Today’s challenges can feel overwhelming to your students. Here, they will be inspired by special projects initiated by young people, plus other actions—big and small—that they can do on their own to promote peace.
Click here to learn more about taking action.
More Voices [Education Project] Resources
Voices resources are about honoring the stories, poetry, and arts of people of different ages and from an international perspective. The possibilities for your students are endless!
- Voices [Education Project]
Visit the official website and its amazing collection of resources for your classroom.
- Books and Curricula
A rich collection of poems, narratives and videos accessible online, including "Voices in Wartime," "Seda: Voices of Iran," and "Waging Peace."
- Education packets
Several times each year, Voices publishes educational packets based on specific themes. Education packets include lesson plans, bibliographies, original documents, suggested questions for discussion, and links to additional online resources.
- Reflective Writings and the Arts
Search collections of writings, music, drama, and art that share perspectives of conflict and peacemaking from 50 countries around the world.
About Voices [Education Project]
Voices [Education Project] began as Voices in Wartime, a non-profit organization dedicated to give voice to the thousands of veterans and civilian witnesses to war, in order to heal and move toward peace. While Voices still maintains this commitment, it has expanded to address the roots of conflict and how we can respectfully overcome differences.
Voices believes that a peaceful world will evolve when people in neighborhoods, schoolyards, communities, and workplaces have conversations in which all voices and points of view are heard without fear, hatred or anger. To inspire and engage students and teachers, Voices offers an impressive trove of resources—visually rich and in a variety of learning methods—including films, curricula, books, photo exhibits, blogs, and more.