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DBYN: Integrating HRE in to DBYN



From 15 - 20 February 2015 Danny Sweeney and Aisling Griffin, both returned BOVA volunteers attended a special study session for Don Bosco Youth Net held at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg. Titled 'Integrating HRE in to DBYN' and attended by 28 members from 12 countries the aim of the week was to examine DBYN's success in working in the field of Human Rights Education (HRE) and to look at how this can be further integrated into our network.

On the first day, after learning about the various institutions including the Council of Europe, DBYN and the various Human Rights institutions, Declarations and Conventions we looked at mapping our own organisation's work, and where we engaged with different articles of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Tuesday saw DBYN's programmes from the last year or so put under investigation in the 'High Court of Human Rights Education Practice' with the UK's own Bob Gardner (attending as our chaplain) sitting in judgement. The purpose being to consider how well (as a network) we are doing with HRE. Tuesday also furnished us with an afternoon off and the majority of the participants took the opportunity to visit the Court of Human Rights and then had an evening out in Strasbourg.

On Wednesday we expanded our vision to other organisations with guests from International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International, who introduced us both to their work on Human Rights Education, and their publication Rainbow Resources (a companion to the COMPASS manual focusing specifically on human rights issues connected with sexual orientation and gender identity). We were also introduced to TOG (a Hungarian youth work project) who facilitate a 'living library' (events where people from minority backgrounds and marginalised life experiences are present as 'books' for people to learn from and begin to relate to their experience. We also heard from two groups who are part of the Salesian Family, but not members of DBYN; VIDES (Italy) and Lviv Don Bosco Institute of Human Rights (Ukraine) about the work they are doing, including VIDES' representation at the United Nations lobbying for child rights. In the evening we combined Mass for Ash Wednesday and marking the Bi-Centenary of Don Bosco's birth, and recorded a message for a Salesian conference on Rights advocacy taking place in Rome the next day.



Thursday was about looking forward. Examining both COMPASS (the Council of Europe's Handbook on HRE) and DBYN's guide to education methodology 'Few words ..... and a lot of action' we explored the 'why', 'what', and then the 'how' we can involve various levels of Human Rights Education (for human rights, through human rights and about human rights) in DBYN and our member organisations. This resulted in a list of recommendations being created which will be taken forward to the DBYN General Executive for consideration. During this session another special guest had joined the group; the Council of Europe's photographer, who wanted to use images of our group for the upcoming (new) edition of COMPASS, so Salesian badges and t-shirts were very much on display (no such thing as bad press!!)

On Thursday evening we rounded up the week in celebration, putting Bob on trial for 'crimes against bald people' (bullying Loius, one of the trainers) and Rein (DBYN's Secretary General) for sending too many emails. Friday morning saw everyone departing back home, and the UK delegation killing time in Strasbourg along with some of our new friends from Austria, Croatia and Ukraine until our train in the afternoon.

It was a unique opportunity to stop and reflect on the work that DBYN has been doing, and to begin the discussion on the future development of the network in this vital area of Human Rights Education. Perhaps the greatest testimony came from Elizabeth, the Council of Europe advisor who was with us during the week who commented that of all the 'youth working' groups she had worked with, she found us both the most joyful, and the most well connected with the young people we seek to work with. It was often commented during the week that Don Bosco would not have used the term 'human rights' when thinking about his work, but hopefully he would have recognised her praise of his working style.


Last modified on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 11:57


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