I recently came across a very interesting video on youtube called
Small Voices, Big Dreams
“The ChildFund Alliance asked 3,000 10- to 12-year-olds around the world six simple questions. What they told us speaks volumes about the lives and dreams of children living in poverty.”
The youtube video highlights some of the responses to the six questions relating to health and welfare of children in their homelands.
After viewing the video, I went to the ChildFund website (http://blog.childfund.org/tag/small-voices-big-dreams) where I found a report on the study. In the report, the responses from the interviews were displayed in a very easy to read format with wonderful quotes highlighting some of the major themes. The results were disaggregated by Developing Countries, Developed Countries and the Americas as well as by regions of the world.
I found this study to be so informative and wondered how my grandchildren, who are 11 and 8, would respond to the same interview questions posed to the children in the report. So I asked them! And here is what they said….
What would you do as president [leader] to improve children’s lives?
“I would make sure kids have a home— that they are warm and clean.”
“I am not going to be president so I don’t know.”
If you could grow up to be anything you wanted, what would you be?
“I would be a nurse that takes care of babies and mothers. “
“I would be a surgeon.”
If you could spend the day doing anything you wanted, what would you do?
“I would ride my bike.”
“I would swim, play soccer, play sports!”
Where do you feel safest?
“With my dad.”
“In the homes of my family.”
When you think about staying safe and healthy every day, what is the one thing you worry about most?
“Eating too much and bad eating habits.”
If you were the president [leader] of your country, what is the one thing you would do to protect children?
“Make sure they don’t get hurt…. Or stolen!”
“I really don’t know.”
I then shared the video and report with my grandchildren and we had a rich conversation about the very different realities of the lives of children all over the world. I asked which of the quotes from the report/video surprised them the most and here is what they told me:
“I don’t think I will become anything, because I am not at school.”
“I am afraid of starving.”
I also asked them what else they learned from the information. Some of their observations that stood out to me are:
“They like to play just like we do but they really want to go to school and study. That’s different!”
“Girls don’t get to go to school? Why not?”
“That boy doesn’t even have a ball. I could give him one of my balls. Why don’t we just send them a bunch of balls?”
“Why do we have so much and they don’t? Is it our fault?”
As you can see, this activity led them to ask questions that they are now in the process of finding out more about. And as they find out more, they are asking more questions. They are learning about countries, cultures, politics, health, etc. from this simple activity of posing six questions that connect to them and other kids around the world. I will say that the short video, the pictures and quotes in the report helped to make the questions and responses much more real to them.
I wonder what other American young people might gain from having this peek into the lives of others? Perhaps teachers (parent… grandparents, etc.) might explore that with their young people and post it here!