In 2011, former Democracy Coach and Chapter Director Sameea Butt joined the Columbia chapter of Generation Citizen. Originally from Islamabad, Pakistan, Sameea launched an action civics program in her home town after graduating, through a program called EducationUSA Pakistan. We invite you to read Sameea’s recent update on her students’ experience (and to check out her last blog post here).
…I wrapped our civics/political theory class yesterday with Civics Day. This year’s class chose to work on child sexual abuse in street schools (i.e., low-income private schools, a popular alternative to public schools locally). They partnered with a group of schools and a non-profit specializing in child sexual abuse prevention. At a coalition meeting, they officially agreed that the schools would establish a mandatory training for all staff on identifying victims of child sexual abuse, and one for children on how to identify and protect themselves from it. The estimated reach of their project is around 1,400 students this year alone. In this post, I’ve included a few photos of the event and their coalition meeting.
I want to thank Generation Citizen for the work you do, and for introducing me to action civics. I often get so caught up in teaching the class and balancing it with work that I forget to think about how transformative this experience is for the students. At Civics Day yesterday, quite a few told us they were stunned that adults would take them so seriously, that they felt empowered and were more likely to work on problems in their community in the future. Three of my students are going to establish action-civics societies in their schools and one student even wants to do this at his college and partner college students with high school classrooms the way we did in the States!
My students’ enthusiasm for civic action was palpable. It’s amazing to know that these kids are continuing the work they’ve learned through the Generation Citizen curriculum, and I am hopeful this will continue to grow.
– Sameea Butt
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