NOVEMBER 18, 2022 -- November 20th is National Child Day, a day to recognize the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and to recognize and honour children and youth in Canada.
To celebrate National Child Day, the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, together with its Youth Advisory Council, created a video about the importance of the day and invited classrooms across the province to participate in a group challenge to help spread the word about children's rights.
The Youth Advisory Council contributes to the Advocate’s priority of amplifying the voices and perspectives of children and youth in the province. “We are very fortunate to have this dedicated and diverse group of young people to inform our advocacy work and influence the systems that affect them,” stated Lisa Broda, the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth.
In the National Child Day school challenge, Council members selected and invited participants to showcase one of three rights that encourage a young person to grow and develop to their fullest potential: the right to identity, the right to education, and the right to culture, language, and religion.
Specific to the right to culture, language, and religion, Erica from the Youth Advisory Council said, “It’s really cool learning about where your peers are from […] it will start conversations [you] might not have had before.”
The Advocate for Children and Youth office has created youth-friendly booklets in English, French, Dene, and Cree outlining all rights under the UNCRC, which are used by staff throughout the year to educate and empower young people in the province. “I want more youth to know what they have on their side. They have documents, people who are rooting for them…and give them the best leg up possible. I hope for better times for future generations,” said Piper from the Youth Advisory Council. National Child Day and the school challenge are “a great place to start,” added Piper.
On this National Child Day, the Advocate reflects on the ongoing challenges faced by children, youth, and their families in Saskatchewan. “We must consistently identify and challenge systems that do not meet the commitments Canada has made as a signatory to the UNCRC. And we must ensure youth are educated on their rights and empower them to speak for themselves when they know their rights are not being upheld,” said Broda.