All posts tagged: advocacy

A lesson in politics: empowering children to influence in Xela

I have a very vivid memory of my first conversation about politics. I must have been pretty young, as me and my brother were in our old house in Kilburn and still sleeping in bunk beds. It must have been around a significant election – probably 1997 – and he spoke to me into the forbidden hours after bedtime about the whole concept of government, the different parties and why it was an important day for the country. I don’t think my parents would have overheard this midnight lesson, as I’ve since discovered they were absorbed in celebrating the glorious culling of a much hated Tory cabinet. My interest in politics didn’t grow much beyond this basic understanding until I reached sixteen and my A Level in the subject. Even this was very much about learning the systems, the history and the processes of politics. We rarely looked at current issues or held debates where our views could be encouraged and examined. It was only university that helped me to think in a more independent …

Giving working children the tools to protest: fighting for human rights in San Cristóbal

The children in Chiapas seem a lot older than normal children. They already have the weary weight of responsibility in their eyes. From as young as three they wander the streets of San Cristóbal till the early hours, selling bracelets and flowers and any number of miscellaneous objects. One girl heads straight for me in the wine bar where I sit with the evidence of privilege spread around me; my digital appliances charging on the table, my Harris Tweed wallet, my resounding European laugh. She must be about six years old. She can smell my oestrogen levels from the other end of the street and uses just one calculated expression to send me into broody fits of moisten-eyed sympathy. “Una Tortuga. Diez pesos,” she says – that’s about 40p. It’s very difficult to resist as she lines up her selection of little clay animals on the table, and I do buy the tortoise first presented to me. I even exclaim childishly, “dos tortugas!” pointing out the second small tortoise on the back of the first. …