Valarie Honore , Dominica
Valarie founded the I Have a Right Foundation to promote the rights of children, women and young people in Dominica. As a survivor of abuse, Valarie chose to turn her experiences into something more positive and she has reached almost 2,000 young people to date through the various strands of her work. The I Have a Right Foundation gives young people a voice by educating them about their rights and enabling them to become changemakers through leadership and arts programmes. The Student Leadership Programme has improved the leadership capacity of two cohorts of 60 students through increased engagement with their schools and communities. I Have a Right organised a three-day Youth Empowerment Symposium featuring debates and panel discussions by representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender Affairs, Child Abuse Prevention Unit and Youth Development Division. This gave 280 students the unique opportunity to engage with government and third sector officials in a meaningful way about the issues that affect them. The After School Education Support Programme provides extra academic support to 50 children struggling with numeracy and literacy each year. After speaking to participants on the leadership development programmes, Valarie noticed that there were no Student Councils established in the local schools and so she developed the Voices of Youth Forum to create such opportunities for students. I Have a Right Campaigns are held in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day, raising awareness on the rights of a child through classroom sessions and village marches. I Have a Right also conducted a school tour to promote the freedom of creative expression and the empowerment of children’s rights. Children use creative, visual and performing arts to raise their voice on their rights and the national laws that exist to protect them. These campaigns have engaged over 1,300 students to date. Additionally, I Have a Right runs a Girl’s Empowerment Programme which it plans to expand into a new initiative engaging girls in peacebuilding.