UNICEF South Africa, #WRITE4CHANGE and the power of poetry
#WRITE4CHANGE campaign is so much more than just keeping children in school and protecting their right to a quality education. We are calling on our children to share their voice and imagine what a better world and future for all will look like.
Words matter; they have started wars, incited unrest and instigated violence. But they have also brought peace, made friends of enemies, and changed the world for the better. Over the centuries, poetry has become a simple tool and a powerful way of finding one’s voice and sharing words. That is why UNICEF South Africa’s current education-focused campaign is so much more than just keeping children in school and protecting their right to a quality education.
#WRITE4CHANGE is calling on children in South Africa to share their voice, through poetry, and reimagine what they believe a better world and future for all will look like. And we are listening.
In 1989, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child highlighted the need for every child to express their views and for them to be taken seriously. The premise was that children should never be excluded from participating in matters that affect them.
Our mandate at UNICEF South Africa aligns with this ideal because the right to be heard is part of our human dignity. Indeed, the old fashioned mantra, “Children should be seen and not heard,” is contrary to a world of inclusivity, progress, respect and fairness.
Children should have a say
Children are not only shaped by the world around them, they also bring significant value to society. They are, by nature, curious and observant of the world around them, and their idealism is often insightful and instructive.
When given the opportunity and a safe space, children are eager to express their views and be heard; excited to envisage a better future for themselves and those around them. #WRITE4CHANGE is giving them an opportunity to voice their ideas in a poem.
These children will define tomorrow and if we at UNICEF South Africa want them to care about the world around them, then we need to listen to what they have to say and respect their voices and views.
What the children are saying
As children of all ages are submitting their #WRITE4CHANGE poems, our UNICEF South Africa team has been impressed at how invested the children of this country are in the future of their country and how thoughtful, empathetic and inspirational their responses have been.
This is their future and that is the power of poetry.
In Jesse Mbogoma’s poem, she imagines a world without negativity, where people cooperate with each other. A world without greed and where our biodiversity is kept safe. A world where, despite our unique traits, everyone is treated equally and where our skills are used to benefit others.
Tadiwanashe Kambarami’s poem imagines a future where all children have access to quality education; a world of dedication and determination. A world where kindness is the golden rule - no matter culture, race or religion. A world where social media is free from public shaming and negativity and a world where rights and responsibility go hand in hand.
UNICEF South Africa
UNICEF South Africa is here for every child and one of our foundational pillars is the protection of children's rights - no matter the age, race, culture, ethnic background, gender identity, disability or socioeconomic status.
#WRITE4CHANGE is particularly focused on every child’s access to quality education and their right to be heard. As we advocate for this, we are dependent on you to take the baton alongside us and become UNICEF South Africa Heroes as we all work together to reimagine futures.
Your donation to #WRITE4CHANGE will be investing in a child’s fundamental right to be heard and to keeping them in school so that they have the best chance to become responsible citizens and role players in all aspects of our society.
UNICEF South Africa will be featuring 12 of the #WRITE4CHANGE children’s poems in our 2021 online calendar, which every donor will receive.