9 June 2016

Southside Travellers Action Group Children’s Charter of Rights

At the recent EAN Conference in Dublin I had the honour of witnessing a remarkable piece of work by the Southside Travellers Action Group.

Link to Dublin Southside Travellers Action Group

The Traveller Community still faces significant discrimination in Ireland and young people in particular are vulnerable.

This group of young people had developed a Charter of Rights in collaboration with the Dublin Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT)  and this was formally signed by Dr Annie Doona, the President of IADT, and representatives of Southside Travellers Action Group and the young people.

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The Charter states:

As a young person who attends Southside Travellers Action Group

I have:

  1. The right to be part of a group where I can share my ideas and thoughts.
  2. The right to be listened to.
  3. The right to be treated kindly and respectfully.
  4. The right to feel safe and be cared for without fear of being bullied.
  5. The right to mix with other young people and to make friends.
  6. The right to take part in activities.
  7. The right to have a great time.
  8. The right to be supported in achieving my goals and in becoming a good role model to others in my community.
  9. The right to explore my culture and to be supported in expressing my identity.
  10. The right to be supported in speaking up against discrimination.
  11. the right to be informed and to learn about my rights.
  12. The same rights as everyone else.

The Charter is very clear and articulates a set of rights as identified by the young people, however the words of the children are universal in their relevance.

On my return from Ireland I visited my Mother, who at the age of 96 had recently moved into a nursing home which provides the extra care that she now needs. She is vulnerable, as an elderly frail lady with severe memory loss, and the charter could equally apply to her as to the wonderful young people who wrote it.

This work by the Southside Travellers Action Group and Dublin Institute of Art, Design and Technology is an example of good practice which all of us could replicate in our daily work.

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