Human rights are today enshrined in international law. They’re no longer restricted to people with status and wealth, and have been designed to provide protection for everyone, especially the world’s most vulnerable people, namely women and children. However, we all know that the world isn’t a perfect place, and there are many issues which undermine the human rights that the people of the world have won.
Poverty is a major issue. It creates environments in which crime, corruption and desperation can thrive. Impoverished people find themselves in positions where they feel that to survive they have to violate the rights of their fellow human beings, while others feel that to survive they have to accept that their rights are going to be violated.
Poverty is a core issue which has downstream effects on other issues as well. It can sharpen class divides, provoke and escalate animosities between people and groups, and encourage people to do what they must to get by, often with the consequence that women and children are viewed and treated as commodities to be used for the family’s financial benefit. This, of course, is largely the cause of human and child trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion and around the world.
We all condemn actions which threaten and curtail human rights. But only by understanding the dynamics which generate these issues can we hope to address and eliminate them. Fortunately, DEPDC/GMS’s founder, Khun Sompop, realised 25 years ago, as others have also noted around the world, that education as a source of personal and community development and empowerment is the key to addressing poverty and eliminating the threats to human rights which it produces.
Our daughters and sons come to a safe place to learn, eat, play and grow. They gain the knowledge of history, science, maths, and language that they need to be informed citizens of the world. They practice the life skills that will enable them to look after themselves and live independently and self-sufficiently, such as cooking, understanding nutrition, sewing, building and repairs around the house. And they learn that they are all members of the same human race, equally entitled to the same rights and opportunities as each other. This is extremely important for all of our children, especially our young daughters.
Bit by bit, day by day, child by child, this is how human rights are defended for the future. We couldn’t be prouder of our history of standing up for human rights, and we invite you to join us on the journey. If you’ve ever considered getting involved and volunteering, please don’t hesitate to visit the volunteer information page on our blog and get in touch. We always love having more members in our international family, and your help will go further than you can imagine. Or if you can’t volunteer but feel like you’d like to make a contribution, please visit our GlobalGiving donations page here to pick which of our programs you’d like to contribute to, like our sustainable agriculture project or our lunch program. Thank you for reading and for keeping up with what’s going on at DEPDC/GMS, just keeping aware makes a meaningful difference.