Tuesday was World Day Against Child Labour, designed to raise awareness of the fact that over 200 million children are forced to work around the world. Every year I work with Transition Year students around the country on the child labour issue for Concern. I try to get across concepts of globalisation, trade and consumer responsibility in the workshops, but I do try to keep it fun!
Firstly the participants are asked to think of their favourite possession and draw themselves using it, reflecting their state of mind when using it:
The usual items that come up are mobile phones, iPods and so on. I then do a short role-play where participants are suddenly in my sweat-shop doing finger-breaking work for less than five minutes, involving lots of shouting and firing. They are asked to record their feelings immediately after this:
The thought bubble at the back contains their thoughts and feelings from the earlier exercise. The whole thing is designed to found a feeling of empathy. The day ends with an action plan where the group suggests tangible actions they can take individually or as a group, and each pledges to act on one of the suggestions. Participants are asked to take the model box home with them and display it somewhere prominent in their home as a reminder of their pledge.
The workshops run in several locations around the country every March. If your are interested in your school attending you can contact me directly or ring Lizzy Noone of Concern on 01 417 7740.