Part 4: Taking Action for Human Rights

Service Learning for Human Rights
Ideas for Taking Action

Addressing Needs and Issues

  • Assess community needs, identify group that work on those issues, and join their efforts.
  • Research community issues and develop reports about them for local government, policy makers, and the press.
  • Write letters to the editor on social issues, putting them in a human rights context.
  • Write letters for Amnesty International and other human rights groups.
  • Provide child care or eldercare for people who are looking for work, attending school. or going to medical appointments, etc.
  • Register voters.
  • Work to inform voters about the human rights aspects of election issues.
  • Support candidates who take a stand on human rights issues.
  • Work with organizations advocating for a clean and healthy environment, including community clean-ups and environmental monitoring.
  • Work with organizations that advocate human rights locally and internationally.

Researching and Writing

  • Study current issues and write stories to convey information to others.
  • After performing service, write stories, poems, and plays based on the experience.
  • Write articles for school and community publications.
  • Help people with disabilities to write letters.
  • Produce community newsletters.
  • Interview refugees and recent immigrants or people from another culture and write about their perspectives.
  • Research local issues from a human rights perspective and write up your finding, citing articles in specific human rights documents.
  • Learn about the human rights history of your community. Are there people, places, and events that have a significance to human rights?
  • Survey youth or other marginalized groups about their needs or opinions, help interpret these from a human rights perspective, and convey this to policy makers.
  • Research literature on human rights and organize a performance or reading.

Teaching Others

  • Teach others about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other human rights documents.
  • Work with organizations that seek to educate about human rights such as Amnesty International, the Street Law Project, and the United Nations Association.
  • Tutor recent immigrants and refugees and help them with basic tasks such as using the telephone and using public transport.
  • Help others improve their literacy skills, especially through programs in public libraries.
  • Prepare immigrants for citizenship examinations.
  • Develop games and activities for teaching young children about their rights. Try them out in after-school program, youth groups, etc.
  • Train senior citizens and other groups in computer skills.
  • Teach others about the relationship between human rights and a healthy environment.

Creating, Celebrating, and Performing

  • Make December 10, International Human Rights Day, important in your community.
  • Create a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the UDHR.
  • Collect oral histories related to human rights.
  • Invite local "human rights heroes" and activists to speak.
  • Establish a "human rights defenders" award for members of the community who contribute to human rights.
  • Invent ways to educate the public about the UDHR through artistic expression, including music, drama, and murals.
  • Research literature or music on human rights and organize a performance, reading, or concert.

Source: Adapted from "Youth Service Connections to the Curriculum," National Youth Leadership Council, 1991.

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  Human Rights Fundamentals The Right to Know Your Rights Activities Taking Action for Human Rights Appendices