At buildOn, we do more than just involve our students in service. We also engage our students in global education. Last week, buildOn staff taught its students about Red Hand Day – a global movement on February 12 that has been drawing attention to child soldiers since 2002. It raises awareness about the 250,000 to 400,000 children who lay mines and participate in combat for armed forces – and its symbol is a powerful, red-painted hand.
buildOn students focused on the situation in Mali, a country where we build schools that is currently at war. Armed rebels are forcing young, innocent children as young as seven into become soldiers. This is tactical because most opponents of war don’t want to hurt a child. France is attempting to liberate Mali from the rebels, but having child soldiers complicates their mission.
Our students from across the United States participated in a workshop that examined why having child soldiers is tactical and possible reasons why children become soldiers. They also watched a video clip about child soldiers and one about Red Hand Day. After educating themselves, students painted their hands red and on pieces of paper and then wrote statistics and quotes around them. The last step was to educate others by hanging the posters around the school.