An alarming number of people don’t know about International Humanitarian Law, which makes us pretty excited as amateur high school kids trying to make a difference in the world. Being part of the IHL Action Campaign is a chance to be a teacher and not a student. During that process, we were able to learn new things ourselves and stay in touch with the violence in the news that people have succumbed to and shrugged off.
Before I started making presentations to the classes, the idea freaked me out. Although everyone pieced together the presentation, no one else really desired to present it. I decided to take up this task and hope for the best. No, I’m not shy or anything – in fact, I like talking to people, but I get butterflies in my stomach for no good reason. The first presentation was given by Bryan Rubi. I made a poster for people to sign it saying they support IHL. I also had the idea of making people write down what they thought were war violations. Many people had good ideas about the topic as some answers included biological/biochemical warfare and genocide.
We had to plan this all out as a group, which was a bit hard for me because I’m used to taking all the work for myself. For years, I believed it was something to be proud of but I realized I lacked skills to work in a group setting, which would catch up to me soon. This initiative is a good way of getting not only me, but everyone ready for the real world and ready to deal with real world issues and situations.
There is a lot of planning put into these events, and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I feel like quitting. At times I feel like the plans won’t work out or that nobody would be interested in them, but how would I know if we didn’t first try? All of this has taught me how to make red velvet brownies and it has taught me perseverance – you know, to just keep swimming.
Authors: School for Advanced Studies IHL Action Campaign, Greater Miami and the Keys Region
*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 healthcare in danger, torture, and humanitarianism.