Learning from individuals working in institutions promoting human rights
As our grade 5 students prepare for their PYP Exhibition in April 2017, they have had a lot of interactions and discussions with first-hand sources for the different issues they are inquiring on. The grade 5 teachers worked hard to try to get individuals, who are experts in their fields, to share their knowledge and experience with our grade 5 students.
For this year’s PYP Exhibition, the students chose the transdisciplinary theme ‘How We Organize Ourselves’ with the central idea “Social equality can determine how people act and how institutions govern.” Instead of all the 30 human rights, we will focus on freedom from discrimination, slavery, torture and degrading treatment; right to free movement, protection in another country, and right to a nationality and freedom to change it; freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of opinion and information; right to peaceful assembly and association, right to participate in government and elections; and right to desirable work and join trade unions, right to rest and leisure, right to adequate living standards.
Right to desirable work and join trade unions, right to rest and leisure, right to adequate living standards
On February 20, we were very privileged to have Indonesia’s Minister of Industry, Bapak Airlangga Hartanto, as our guest speaker. He first explained his roles as a Minister of Industry to the students. He mentioned that he works closely with Indonesian President Jokowi and other ministers for the betterment of Indonesia. He showed a video on how a big factory in Indonesia operates. After that, he enumerated the rights of workers such as minimum wage, working hours and overtime pay, medical benefits, pension fund and participation in labour unions. The students asked a lot of questions which the Minister answered cheerfully. At the end of his talk, he encouraged the students to study and work hard so that they can also help their country in the future.
Freedom from discrimination, slavery, torture and degrading treatment
On February 23, we had a Skype session with our guest speaker, Grace Villanueva, a lawyer from the Philippines. She had worked for 10 years in a non-governmental organization called Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center or LRC, whose focus is rights to natural resources of indigenous peoples and other upland poor rural communities. Prior to joining LRC, she trained in a law firm after she took the bar exams. Most recently, she was a consultant to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines. In her presentation to our grade 5 students, she explained who the indigenous people are and how institutions protect their rights to their lands and territories. She also shared with the students how lawyers like her educate the indigenous people about their right to be asked for their permission and their right to develop based on their own dreams. The students had a lot of questions after her presentation. One student even asked, “Why don’t the indigenous people just change their ways so they won’t be discriminated?” in which Atty. Grace replied, “There is a saying: “Why fix something if it is not broken? All they want is a happy, just, peaceful, beautiful world enjoyed by every child, woman, man, which they will pass on to their future children for them to also enjoy and take care of for future generations.”
Right to peaceful assembly and association, right to participate in government and elections
On February 28, three staff from Indonesia’s Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU), Ibu Lidya, Ibu Ina and Ibu Rika, went to our school and talked about the citizens’ right to choose their leader. They explained to the students the process of voting as well as the requirements for an individual to exercise his or her right to vote. Once again, our students took this opportunity to ask many questions like “Why can’t children vote?”, “How does your institution ensure a fair election?”, “What preparations do you do before an election?”, etc.
Guests from KPU explaining the citizens’ right to vote
Right to free movement, protection in another country, and right to a nationality and freedom to change it
On February 3, one of our Humanities teachers from the Middle Years Programme, Michael Athens, shared his knowledge and experience with our students. He explained to them who refugees are, why they leave their country and what their rights are. He shared his own experience about interacting with them when he worked in one of the local libraries in Minneapolis many years ago. He gave facts and figures about crimes committed which did not include any refugees’ involvement at all. The session touched the hearts of the students and made them more compassionate to people who are in need. It also made them appreciate the things that they have which they normally take for granted.
Our MYP Humanities teacher, Michael Athens, explaining the rights of refugees to our students
On March 6, we were fortunate to have been given the chance to meet refugees from Pakistan and Sri Lanka by members of a Catholic organization in Bogor called Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS). Their mission is to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees. Their main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services. The first activity we had was to socialize with them in our school’s playground. Most of our girls had a chat with two teenage girls from Pakistan while the boys played. We went up to our assembly area after that and all our guests introduced themselves by saying their names and which country they come from. Our students invited them in their classrooms and they shared what they usually do in the class. One girl from Pakistan said that she loves art so our students gave her a lot of art materials to draw and paint. A boy from Pakistan said he likes playing soccer so our students played soccer with him. Our students were very sensitive and did not ask about their life as a refugee. Even for a day, our grade 5 students surely brought joy to these people.
With all these interactions and discussions, our young students were able to understand not only how they should be treated but how they should treat others as well. They realize that there are actually many individuals, institutions and organizations that protect the rights of human beings. Our guest speakers created a safe place for our students to explore, discuss, challenge and form their own opinions and values. The knowledge and respect of rights that our students have gained from all these past sessions (and more to come) have empowered them to tackle discrimination or inequality and improve their relationships with the society.
By: Corita T. Silapan
Grade 5 Class Teacher and Level Head
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug