Ady King remembers what it’s like to come face to face with the human rights topics she only read about in school. Exploring the Museum’s galleries, Ady felt those classroom topics come to life.
“It just felt more real,” she said. “After you get over the initial shock what’s left is a feeling of ‘this happened, and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again’.”
The 14 year old from Fredericton, New Brunswick, participated in a pilot program that brings students from across the country to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The school course included 18 hours of classwork and 16 hours of volunteer work, which culminated in a trip to Winnipeg to visit the Museum.
The program included a guided tour of the Museum and additional time for students to explore areas that interested them most. Gallery time was complemented with talks from various human rights speakers – for Ady’s class, the speakers were a Holocaust survivor and two men who escaped the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Ady credited the last two speakers with opening her eyes to the immediacy of human rights issues still in contention today.
“They were still really young,” she said, “and that helped me realize there’s still a lot of things we need to fix. Nothing’s perfect yet, we’re not out of it.”
The Museum, she said, plays a crucial role in educating people of all ages about our collective human rights journey. Whether around the world or closer to home, learning about our human rights past is the first step in discovering how we can move forward.
Ady is considering a future in law, with a possible focus on children’s rights. Her visit fueled her drive to want to make a difference in the world.
“Seeing those stories motivates you to want to make things better,” she said. ”It gives you perspective and makes you realize things have to change.”
She called the Museum ‘incredible,’ and said she really felt the impact of exhibits that showcase people who are already making a difference in human rights today. Particularly meaningful were exhibits that highlighted young human rights champions, some of whom were her own age or even younger.
“People are already making change. And it’s really inspiring to think if someone their age can make a difference then I can too. It feels possible.”
We hope Ady’s story has given you an idea of what the Museum’s educational programs have to offer, not just for students in Winnipeg, but for young people from across Canada. We’re so happy to share stories like this with you because your support has helped make these experiences possible. Educating young people was one of the main objectives in building the Museum, which makes stories like these special to us.