Why I quit legal practice to teach children about their rights

At Eagle Mount Academy in Nakuru, a group of five ‘children teachers’ educate their fellow pupils on their rights.

The children aged between 11 and 13 years have also planted thousands of trees within a year and become seed ball ambassadors, have cleaned the streets and kept the public aware of their work by reporting in their own television.

And in March, theu took their campaign to global platform at the UN Environmental Assembly.

All this is thanks to the House of Plenty International (HoPI), an organisation started by a 31-year-old lawyer, who ditched the legal practice to be with the children.

Brian Awuonda says there are 42 universal rights in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which most children do not know.

“Tied to the rights are duties that children should perform and after studying with the group of five, we simplified them in 10 chapters. This is when ‘Children Teachers’ were born to teach the rest,” says Awounda.

He says the thought of ditching his career after three and a half years of practice was abrupt.

He quit in March last year then approached the school and prents with his proposal and they welcomed it.

The team of children has a president, treasurer, lead English and Swahili presenters, one in charge of drama and the other a ‘computer’.

“It is a complete team. One year down the line, the effortscare all worth it. Felix Omondi, our ‘computer’ is sharp, he knows all the 45 children rights off head. He also is the treasurer,” says Awuonda.

Aisha Galgallo,12, is the face of HoPI, as she is leading presenter in HoPI Children’s TV, recordings which are posted on Youtube. The programmes are also often aired in some local TV channels.

Amina Misozi is Aisha’s co-presenter, Fred Kipruto is the head of environment and scheduled planner and Kon Lual is incharge of drama department.

“We have made a presentation to the United Nations ‘Our Earth in 2050’ ,a speech that depicted how the earth would br if people adopted what we were doing on the environment. Every child is enititled to a clean environment and that is why our work majorly lies in sensitising children on the need for a clean and healthy environment,” says Aisha.

The group engages in street clean-up and tree planting exercises over the weekends, besides visiting schools, rescue centers, religious gatherings and local functions to educate children on their rights and duties.

“We want children all over the world to know their rights and duties. They should not only be talking of their rights without performing any duty,”says Amina.

The team records every activity they undertake, and report them as news in the TV station. Their reporters too have mastered the art. As they say, it takes enthusiasm and trials in learning.

“We often interview people to get their views, record and Brian’s help, post them. Through our tree planting initiatives, we have become ambassadors of seed balls. We are also known everywhere for teaching children and making them do what is expected of them,” Felix says.

The team meets during the weeknds and after classes to plan dor their activities, which are funded by Awuonda.

“Coordination is key, it has taught us to plan for our activities and time. In school, we have all improved in areas where we were initially weak because we plan our time well. We have mastered the art of solving problems with little guidance,” says Kon.

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