The Concerned for Working Children Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

We have just received news that Concerned for Working Children in India has received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. CWC has been involved with AERO since we met their staff members and the children who they serve at the International Democratic Education Conference in Bhubaneshwar, India in 2004. While in India we also visited the fantastic Butterflies Program in New Delhi, which helps children from a similar background and made a documentary of that visit. In the process we discovered the great resilience and creativity of these children and the wonderful work of CWC and Butterflies. When you watch the announcement of the nomination you will hear mention of the Convention of the Rights of Children and the importance of democratic process. These concepts are a basic aspect of the schools and programs that AERO supports. We congratulate CWC on their well deserved nomination.

AERO member David Gribble, founder of the Sands School in England, sent his endoresment of their nomination:

My work has been with children who have been involved in the government of their own schools. Involving children in the government of their own communities is another step in the right direction. What I find astonishing when I read about CWC is the degree of trust in the knowledge and awareness of young people, and the way these young people have been enabled to influence and assist local government.

Two paragraphs will illustrate these points. The first is taken from a report by P. J. Lolichen on ethical issues in children’s research: “The children who collect/generate information must have complete ownership over that information. They can decide what to do with it. The adult facilitators should ask the children’s permission to use any information they have generated.

And the second is from a CWC report in 2007: “The first Children’s Grama Sabha report is from Halli Hole, a remote Panchayat of Udupi District, one of the field programme areas of the Concerned for Working Children. Hundreds of children took part in this Sabha last week in which the Panchayat reported back to children about the successful implementation of nineteen programmes that are a direct result of the issues raised by children during Children’s Grama Sabha in 2006.

Nineteen programmes! This shames Britain, where children often have no influence in their own schools, let alone in their local communities. I very much hope that the influence of CWC will soon spread over the entire world.

David Gribble