Child Protection Club at GS Nyange Empowers Students to Safeguard Their Rights
By: Byiringiro Jean Elise
KANSI SECTOR: In a remarkable collaboration of the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) and World Vision Rwanda, GS Nyange has successfully established the Child Protection club (CP Club), mirroring the efforts of other schools in the area. This commendable initiative has given birth to not one, but two CP Clubs within the school – one for primary students and another for secondary students.
With a total of 38 children in each CP Club, inclusivity is at the core of their mission. The clubs boast an equal representation of 19 boys and 19 girls, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. Further emphasizing the significance of gender equality, each CP Club is guided by two dedicated teachers – one male and one female – who tirelessly champion the cause of child protection.
The CP Clubs at GS Nyange have become a hub of activity, fostering an environment conducive to learning and exchange of ideas. Regular meetings provide opportunities for club members to discuss and deliberate on various child protection issues. Together, they scrutinize the tactics employed by those who prey on vulnerable children and strategize effective measures to combat and prevent such abuse.
A notable highlight in their calendar is the monthly gathering held every first Wednesday. On this special day, CP primary and secondary clubs convene separately to delve into crucial matters concerning child abuse, child rights, and responsibilities. These discussions serve as a platform for students to deepen their understanding of their own rights and learn how to protect themselves from violence.
The second week of each month presents an exciting opportunity for all CP Clubs to come together as a united force. During these joint sessions, they collectively choose an activity that aligns with their ongoing campaign to raise awareness among their peers about their rights and how to counter violence.
The clubs also take it upon themselves to identify classmates who have fallen behind in attendance or have dropped out altogether. They compile a comprehensive list of these individuals and embark on home visits, offering support and encouragement to both the students and their families, urging them to prioritize education.
Furthermore, the CP Clubs extend their reach beyond the classroom, recognizing that parental responsibility plays a pivotal role in safeguarding children’s rights. They actively engage with parents who either discourage their children from attending school or participate in actions that contravene their responsibilities. By educating parents on the importance of their role, the CP Clubs aim to create a collective consciousness that upholds the value of education and shuns any form of wrongdoing.
In the third week of the month, they gather together and combine the results of the campaign they conducted to identify children in need of school supplies. They also collect support through the school administration and the parents of these children.
In the fourth week, they assess the progress made during the month and also work on maintaining the vegetable garden they established at school. However, their activities are not limited to this. They also find time to communicate with their classmates and convey messages about ending child violence through songs, poems, dances, and plays.
In January 2024, they successfully reintegrated three children into the school, including two boys and one girl, who are now making good progress in their studies, as stated in their testimonies.
Throughout their work, they encounter challenges, such as parents who lack understanding of children’s rights and may even withdraw them from school. They urge World Vision, the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU), and other organizations to continue raising awareness about the dangers of child labor and child sexual abuse, as well as teaching children about their rights.
They express gratitude to this partnership for initiating the establishment of CP Clubs in schools and equipping them with knowledge to prevent and combat all forms of child violence.