People sometimes ask us “But do you really think kids can change the world? You just mean that they’ll learn to change the world. Or that they can influence their school. Right?”
So let’s take this opportunity to be uber clear: Our vision is kids changing the world. Full stop. End of story.
And now before you call us crazy idealists or in-the-clouds dreamers, take a gander at this:
In Kenya, private developers sometimes illegally seize public land. Last week, students at the Lang’ata school in Nairobi returned to school to find their playground (public land) fenced off as the result of such a land-grab.
Now you might think that since this isn’t unheard of in Kenya and the individuals most affected are kids, that this injustice would go quietly into the night. Not so fast.
The students of Lang’ata protested and even pushed down the fence the developer put around their playground. And then – and this is tough to even type – the police began to tear-gas the protesters, some as young as 7.
This could have been the depressing end of this story. As NPR reports, “The registration of titles and deeds is murky in Nairobi. They’re controlled by an elite group that ordinary Kenyans are usually powerless to stop.” Given that reality, you might expect the buzz from the protest and the tear gas to die down and the playground to get bulldozed to build condos.
Except that’s not what happened. This time the kids won.
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, condemned the use of tear gas. The senior officer involved was suspended, the acting interior minister came to the school to apologize in person, and the Land Ministry built a wall around the playgroup to protect it from private development.
Kids made a difference – and not just in reclaiming their playground. These young people showed us all that we have the power to stand up and fight for what’s right.
So don’t ask if we really think kids can change the world. We know they can.
Categories: Stage 5: Students as World Changers