Before I participated in the International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign at my high school’s Red Cross Club, I had only acquired, not learned, awareness of child soldiers, refugees, gender equality, and many other relevant issues and conflicts occurring around the globe. I was aware of the world around me, but not awake. Back in the 2013-2014 school year, a team of my school’s Red Cross club attended a conference at the Greater New York Chapter where we learned about the International Humanitarian Law and that year’s topic of child soldiers. Through engaging activities such as Raid Cross, we learned about the unfortunate lifestyles of child soldiers and the rules set forth by IHL that tend to be overlooked. Once our team decided to raise and spread awareness about child soldiers in our community and on social media, we ran our campaign and managed to reach out to thousands of people. Within and throughout the few months our campaign was active, we were still shocked by the realism of how child soldiers lived, and during our class teach-ins, our team presented the hardships child soldiers face to the class. As a presenter, I would exercise simulations of what child soldiers may experience in an average day of their lives. From there, even if it were just a simulation, I began to understand how much struggle they must be going through. When our team went to Washington D.C. to see other school’s campaigns, I felt that my humanitarian education to my community and school increased students’ level of awareness significantly. From there, I continued with my own IHL Campaign the following year, but this time raising and spreading awareness for refugees.
Author: Dennis Ahn, American Red Cross Volunteer.
*This story was submitted for the Humanitarian Education Storytelling Campaign launched by the American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.