For three days close to 40 young people from diverse communities across the country have been working together drafting the first Children’s Charter including 16-year-old Brady Sager from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
He said it was important to work on because Indigenous children face struggles that others don’t.
“Because they face things that they aren’t necessarily learned behaviours, there’s more systemic behaviour, where they didn’t have a choice to be the way they are, they didn’t have a choice to be given less money in funding for school, health care for those benefits, they didn’t have a choice in where they live.”
Youth will identify what their needs are in the draft charter.
The event was organized by Sara Austin, director of Children First Canada.
“In our country, far too many kids, are falling through the gaps,” she said. “We have six million kids in Canada and millions of those kids are growing up in poverty, experiencing abuse and neglect, dealing with issues of physical and mental health challenges and where they’re urgently calling for our support.”
Rewan Karem said it’s been interesting to talk about issues like mental health, bullying, equity, education, and health.
She said she learned a lot.
“It pains me to think there are Canadians here in Canada, the Canadian dream does exist to think that within Canada there are people that aren’t represented the way they should or aren’t given the rights they should have or that there’s sort of this idea they do possess those right but they don’t really have it for example, I’m thinking about those up north more.”
According to organizers, the aim is to have the Children’s Charter completed by early 2018 – before Canada goes before the UN Convention on the Rights of Children in Geneva.