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Plataforma de Infancia: this month´s Wishmakers
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July 29, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Every month, in our Wishmakers section, we offer you exclusive interviews with people who are passionate about working for and with children. Whether it is inspiring them to make their ideas a reality or travelling to the world´s most dangerous places offering smiles and hope, all of them work hard to make this planet a better place for everyone. Today, we had the chance to speak with Pilar Muñoz Villanueva, the person responsible for Child Participation at Plataforma de Infancia (Childhood Platform, in English). She designs activities so children between the ages of 6 and 17 know their rights and the policies, which affect them. Keep reading to learn more about the work they do, how to speak with your children about their rights and discover some of the surprising insights they come up with, when we listen.

 

Could you please describe what you do for those readers who are not familiar with Plataforma de Infancia?

Plataforma de Infancia is made up of 55 entities such as Spanish Red Cross, Caritas, Save the Children…  Keeping in mind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, we promote political changes to make sure their rights in Spain are applied. We also elevate the voice of children so politicians know what they think and include them in the design of new policies. At Plataforma de Infancia we also carry out activities so children and society, in general, know their rights and exercise them.

The poverty levels among families and children in Spain can be overwhelming. What do you do to make society conscious of this?

In the past years, children have become the group, which has suffered the most from the impact of the economic crisis. That´s why we made it a priority.

In this sense, we´ve asked the Spanish government, political parties and groups, public and private institutions to sign a State Agreement committed to increase the investment in children.

¿Do you believe that we should talk to our children about the realities that affect them?

Of course. They need to know what the reality is. One out of every three children live in poverty and that forces us to act. Children are aware of what is happening because it affects them. That is why we need to explain it to them, solve their doubts and provide them with the information they need so they understand.

Proceso_participacion_infantil_Plataforma_Infancia

But how do we speak to our children about these topics?

By using language they can understand and giving them the tools they need to do so. Playing, for example, is a wonderful way of teaching them But we must also be realistic and not alarm them, but rather encourage them to share their thoughts.

The kids who participated in the activities we designed have proven to be very solidary and have proposed surprising solutions. I´d like to share some with your readers:

  • “We ask the adults to be more solidary. If they have a lot, they should share it with those who don´t.”
  • “We are committed to collaborate with associations which help others, participate in solidary events and contribute food.”
  • “We worry about children who don´t have the things they need such as food and health services… The crisis can affect us psychologically producing anxiety, shame and other traumas.”

Who are your Wishmakers?

My wishmakers are children. They have taught me to understand how important it is to treat them like independent people, who don´t have to wait to grow up to learn and help others. On the contrary, adults need to learn from them.

How can we make them aware of their rights?

We need to teach them what their rights are. At Plataforma de Infancia, we produce materials and organize activities which you can read all about in our website.

What can our readers do to help?

We ask the adult readers to listen to children and consider their opinions and thoughts in order to integrate them into their homes, schools, neighbourhoods and communities. I greatly encourage children to express their opinions and participate freely and democratically in the decision-making.

Photo Credits: La Plataforma de Infancia

 

 

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