Before joining Stuyvesant Red Cross Club, our team had never known about some of the hardships that millions of others face around the world. After being inspired through countless meetings, workshops, and presentations from the American Red Cross, though, we were encouraged to use the platform of the IHL Action Campaign to inspire others as we once were when learning about IHL.
To be honest, we were quite nervous and unsure of whether we should get involved with the IHL Action Campaign at first; after all, we had never participated in a program like this before. Most of us had never even heard of IHL. However, after discussing it amongst ourselves, we realized the value of educating ourselves as well as our peers about the importance of IHL in order to become a more well-informed community. We chose to focus on gender and its connection to IHL because we found that it connected to our lives much more than the other subtopic–not directly per se, but in the sense that gender stereotypes are a problem that affect our everyday lives as well. In order for our event to be both informative and entertaining, we knew we had to find an engaging way to appeal to participants. As a result, we chose to hold a fair for the students of our school that included both an informative presentation and educational games pertaining to IHL. We started off the fair with our Powerpoint presentation, which lasted about fifteen minutes, and then participants spent the remaining time exploring the games. For example, we played a twist on Connect 4 in which each piece had different facts about IHL based on the presentation. We also incorporated information from the presentation in a Jeopardy-style game where students received prizes upon answering questions correctly. In addition, we had a station where students could write their thoughts on IHL on post-its. Overall, we were pleased to find out that our hard work had paid off from all the positive feedback and excitement we heard from students.
American youth need to learn about IHL because it protects all non-combatants and their rights. There is an obligation for IHL to be taught to the public and armed forces because it is important that we be aware of these laws and become more informed on current issues. After all, “knowledge is power”. Although we definitely had to overcome some roadblocks along the way, it’s safe to say that the Stuyvesant Red Cross Club will be involved with the IHL Action Campaign for a long time.
*The purpose of the IHL Action Campaign is for young people to teach their peers about the importance of IHL, as well as issues related to gender, refugees, and humanitarianism.