By Ann Douglas
Know a young person who is passionate about social justice—who is eager to make the world a better place, starting right now?
Let that young person know about the Lifesaver program. Lifesavers are free monthly actions for kids aged 9 and up. The actions involve writing letters on behalf of an individual or group whose human rights are in jeopardy. https://www.amnesty.ca/get-involved/youth-activism/lifesaver
Recent Lifesaver actions have offered support to:
- Mahmoud Hussein, an 18-year-old who is in jail in Egypt for wearing a t-shirt the government didn’t like http://bit.ly/1Pna7om
- Fred and Yves, two young activists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been jailed for making comments critical of the government http://bit.ly/22sxbPm, and
- refugee children who are separated from their parents http://bit.ly/1QFp5d6
If those monthly calls to action appear to be written in a way that resonates with kids, it’s certainly for good reason.
Amnesty International Canada has a volunteer team of three 10- and 11-year old editors helping to craft the messages. Their job is to ensure that each Lifesaver is written in a way that will make sense to kids and inspire them to want to take action.
Liam Price-Savone (pictured above), one of the young editors, explains: “Kids know kids. If I don’t understand something, maybe other kids won’t either. I like helping to find ways to explain what happened so that kids like me can understand….and then maybe want to do something to help too.”
Not surprisingly, the Lifesaver program has been embraced by kids from across the country, as well as their parents and teachers. It has also been used by adults in literacy programs and by students in English-as-a-second language classes, notes Marilyn McKim, the staff member responsible for the Urgent Action Network and Lifesaver Program.
To find out more about the Lifesavers program—how your child or your class can become involved—please contact Marilyn McKim of Amnesty International Canada’s Urgent Action Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 363-9933 extension #325.
Ann Douglas is the author of numerous bestselling books about pregnancy and parenting, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. Learn more about Ann’s writing.