This year, children and their families will walk in support of our projects in India. Sixth largest economy in the world, the country appears to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, while paradoxically, 21% of the population lives below the poverty line ($1.90/day). Women, children and, in general, populations belonging to lower castes, including tribal populations, are the first victims of impoverishment. India is also the country where there are the most child workers exercising jobs that are most often dangerous to their health and are thus deprived of schooling, locking them into the circle of poverty.
As every year for 30 years, Terre des Hommes Switzerland [hereinafter TdH Switzerland] offers educational activities to schools in Geneva and neighboring France, with the aim of raising children’s awareness about children’s rights and sustainable development.
Nearly 30,000 schoolchildren from 4 to 13 years old discover the daily life of children living in Jharkhand, one of the poorest states in the country where the quality of education is often not sufficient and where families depend mainly on agriculture. In this precarious context, the period of Covid-19, during which schools closed for two years, undermined the education of children and the economy of families. The students from the region of Geneva understand that thanks to the actions of RDA (Rural Development Association) during the pandemic, children in rural areas had the chance to benefit from school support. In addition to the continuity of the education of these children, the teachers’ classes given by RDA have prevented many children from dropping out of school and early marriages of some young girls. Children from here will also discover how the children of India are committed, through children’s clubs, to the respect of their own rights and in turn raise awareness among those around them about respect for the environment and water preservation.
To accompany its activities, TdH Switzerland produces educational supplements (in french only). Two sheets for pupils aged from 5 to 7 and from 8 to 12 have been created so that the children can deepen the themes covered during the class activities with the teacher. TdH Switzerland’s awareness program is part of the Romand study plan, in particular in Human and Social Sciences (geography and citizenship) and in General Training (living together, interdependencies, environment) and helps to develop transversal capacities such as as creative thinking, reflective process, participation and collaboration. In addition, it promotes the acquisition or strengthening of ESD skills such as critical thinking, ethical reflection and the capacity for action.
A LONG-AWAITED WALK OF HOPE!
Beyond raising awareness on the notions of solidarity and sustainable development, the activities linked to the Walk of hope are an opportunity for children here to mobilize in favor of children elsewhere for whom the living conditions are not always conducive to the proper development of children and respect for their rights, such as education, for example. Each kilometer covered will support the projects of the 8 partner associations of TdH Switzerland in India.
After two years of absence on the Quai du Mont-Blanc, Terre des Hommes Switzerland is delighted to welcome children and families again and counts more than ever on the solidarity of each and everyone.
In line with target 4.7 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda, Terre des Hommes Switzerland considers education for global citizenship, education for children’s rights and education for solidarity as contributions to the education for sustainable development are intrinsically linked to each other. Together, these educational approaches develop in learners, in Switzerland as in our countries of action, the skills necessary to understand and act in the face of global challenges that are closely linked to local issues.
In that way, quality education for all children (SDG 4), gender equity (SDG 5), the reduction of inequalities (SDG 10), the fight against global warming (SDG 13), are central axes and appear as priorities for TdH Switzerland and the partner associations with which it works.
In connection with the Romand study plan, TdH Switzerland is committed to involving and training children and young people to contribute to a more just, sustainable and united world. This is why, for more than 30 years, the association has organized the Walk of hope, the largest demonstration of solidarity for children, by children, on its traditional route by the lake.