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Social Justice Day 2020
February 22 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Social Justice Day, 20 February 2020
Ahuva Good Shepherd- Small Group Care is a children’s home that serves children who may have experienced trauma and have moderate to high level of needs. Nevertheless, we felt that it was important for them to be connected with relevant issues around the world.
Today, we celebrated Social Justice Day. We broke this big word down for the children who were excited to share their understanding. ‘Social is like social studies that we study in school, and our social workers! Justice means our rights!’. We were off to a good start. For our children aged 8 to 12 years old, we defined social justice as ‘everyone deserves equal opportunities’ while discrimination meant the opposite. In the minds of the children, it simply meant, ‘fair or unfair’- something they could easily relate to.
We further categorized the examples of social injustices into 5 types, namely, age, race, socio-economic status, religion and gender. We shared stories of social injustices and our hopes for social justices in these areas. The children were then invited to share their understanding through drawings or writings.
Our 12 year old child drew an elderly lady at a job interview who badly needed to support her family only to be turned down because she deemed to be too slow. She felt that social justice would be to ‘hire elderly people because they have wisdom and without the elderly, we wouldn’t be around’.
Ageism and Equal Opportunities for people of all ages, Drawn by 12 year old
Our 8 year old could not grasp the concept of racial discrimination. Her examples was a dialogue revolving people being turned away from one country to another, thus illustrating the plight of refugees, which we affirmed her, was certainly a social justice issue!
Racism and Racial Harmony, drawn by 8 year old
In terms of socio-economic discrimination, our 9 year old remembered the story we told her of ‘rich people pay money to go to top universities’. She also wrote that the ‘rich have more chances’ and scribbled, ‘no, no, no- negative example’, while writing ‘yes, yes’ for equal opportunities between the rich and poor, citing examples of the Singapore government supporting children’s education through subsidies in school books, uniforms, school fees, food etc.
Rich-Poor Divide and Equal Opportunities for the Rich and Poor, drawn by 9 year old
As for religious discrimination, a 12 year old drew a person of one religion criticizing another person of a different religion during their festive celebrations. On the other hand, she had witnessed a person enquiring politely the faith of someone else of a different religion and hopes that more would do the same.
Religious Discrimination and Equal Opportunities for all Religion, drawn by 12 year old
Finally, our 10 year old child understood that ‘in some countries, only boys go to school and girls have no chance to go to school’. She also drew derogatory name calling of girls. Her wish for gender equality is for ‘all boys and girls go to school. Men and women [are allowed to] work; men and women to have equal pay.’
Gender Discrimination and Gender Equality, drawn by 10 year old
While we worry that these children may not grasp the complex concepts of social justice, they have proved that they do understand it, in their simple ways!