by Natalie Goodnow, Artistic Associate
On Day one of Courage in Action, the students learn about a variety of figures from throughout history and throughout the world who have worked with others to find nonviolent solutions to shared problems in their communities. They then tell us what it is about this person that made them a courageous leader. In the past, we’ve featured leaders such as Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and lesser known figures such as Emma Tenayuca and Zachary Bonner.
One of our favorite finds this year has been the International Children’s Peace Prize, which honors children whose “courageous or otherwise remarkable acts have made a difference in countering problems which affect children around the world.” We’ve just begun featuring International Children’s Peace Prize winners such as Mayra Neves in our curriculum this fall.
Here’s a bit about Mayra, from the International Children’s Peace Prize website:
“Mayra grew up in one of the most violent favela’s in Rio, in the midst of a civil war between the drugs cartels and between the cartels and the police. The violence rose to such extreme levels that, when Mayra was eleven years old, the neighbourhood was cut off and became virtually inaccessible to medical and teaching staff. As a result, schools and clinics were closed. At 15 years old, Mayra mobilised hundreds of children and youths to take part in a protest march, demanding that the police cease their patrols during school hours. That march was certainly not without its risks. The police agreed to her demands and since then many children have been able to return to school. However, Mayra’s fight goes on, as life in the favela’s remains extremely dangerous and the local facilities are poor. Last year she organised another march, this time appealing to everybody in the favela and elsewhere to stand up for the fundamental rights of slum dwellers. Or, in her own words: “Everybody has a part to play in improving human rights, in particular the rights of children as the future generation. We can and must stand up for these children, whose rights are being violated and whose lives are at risk.”
We hope you find this story as inspiring as we and our students do!
P.S. Favorite cupcake: Chocolate. With mint chocolate icing. YUM! If you love cupcakes as much as we do, Come out to Theatre Action Project’s Cupcake-A-Doodle-Do! on October 22nd from 12-3 pm at Central Market North. It is going to be fantastic family fun (and you can never go wrong with cupcakes)!