Letters From Our Youth

This letter was sent out to world leaders and shared with many other grown ups and kids.
Dear Grownups and Kids:

We’d like to thank all the people who worked and are working so hard to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. So far, it has been ratified in 100 countries and it has become international law. This is a very big step! But there is much more to be done.

Now, it is very important for the United States, and 27 other countries of the United Nations to ratify the Convention so that there will be one very good set of laws to help and protect children all over the world. All of us working together will need to see that the laws are taken seriously-that all kids survive, are fully protected and get the rights that are guaranteed to them-to develop into strong and happy people.

Our group, Kids Meeting Kids Can Make a Difference has had several International Children’s Congresses. About 1,000 kids have come together at the different meeting from almost every country in the world. We have spent time together getting to know each other, and making friends with kids we never thought we’d get a chance to be friends with. We talked about the problems of kids in the world-what kids need to live good lives, what we can do working together to help all kids everywhere, and what grownups, including the world leaders, can do to help us.

Here are some of the things we believe all kids need:

a place to grow up where there is no war or violence
a bed and blanket
to be able to go to a school that is free so you can get an education whether or not you can pay for it
enough food-good food so that you do not have to go to bed hungry
someone to take good care of you
a house to live in
clean water and air
doctors-free medicine
freedom to choose your own religion
protection so that you’re not taken advantage of or abused
to have some time to play
friends-both kids and grownups
some attention
someone to believe in you and to understand
immunizations and more cures for sickness
legal advice if you need it
grownups’ guidance
to be listened to-you have the right to be heard
no guns or bombs
not to be killed, or have to fight
the right to vote and express yourself
protection from drugs and war
no war to die in
special programs for kids with special needs
to be free from discrimination because of race, or sex, nationality, or religion, or how much money you have
a safe home, neighborhood, country
the same rights no matter what you look like or where you are from
the right to have a first and last name
not to be forced to go to war before you are 18 or after you are 18 either
good teachers
some money
the right to sex education
to be free from drugs and not to be used by drug dealers
the right to work when you want to, but not to be forced to work-Families need to get help to live so that their kids can go to school and don’t have to work.
the right to know what is going on in your family and in the world
the right to be treated like a human being and not get shoved in lines or on trains because you are a kid
the right to be recognized and treated as a person, not to ask questions and get answers

We thought about the differences between “wants” and “needs.” Candy is a “want.” Love is a “need.” A bicycle is a “want.” A good hospital is a “need.” Toys are a “want.” Fashionable clothes are a “want.” Clean air and water is a “need.” Good food is a “need.” New s#@$%s are a “want.” Makeup is a “want.” A person to love and be loved by is a “need.” There is a difference sometimes, between what we want and what we really need. We hope that people understand this difference and how important it is to meet all kids’ needs everywhere. Until all people’s needs are satisfied, we should not be too concerned with out wants.

We thought a lot about what kids can do to help and we have completed a list of what kids can do. One thing that many of them are doing is carrying petitions for ratification and enforcement of the UN Convention. We’re sure that kids have a lot of other good ideas, too, and there are many ways that all of us can work together.

We’ll need the help of grownups. Here are some ways that we think grownups can help:
Stop abusing children.
Give food to hungry kids.
Work for us-meet the basic needs of all kids.
Tell us things we should do and shouldn’t. Give us an idea of good ways to live in this world.
Commit yourselves to children’s futures and to the future of the world.
Listen to us kids and to one another. Take time to listen, not just go through the motions but hear.
Be more caring and careful.
Care less about money and more about people and the world.
Plant trees.
Help recycle.
Don’t waste natural or human resources.
Work for better public transportation.
Ban ozone and harmful chemicals.
Help stop pollution.
Don’t deal drugs.
Don’t deal weapons or bombs.
Ratify and enforce the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Guide children rather than govern them.
Spend time with kids. Listen to their problems.
Know when you have a drug or alcohol abuse problem and try to help yourself and your kids.
Work for changes in the world so that all people and kids get treated fairly.
Stop spending money for unncessary things like long limousines, arms shipments and bombs. Spend money to take care of the “needs” of the kids and the “needs” of grownups.
Love us.
Educate us.
Respect us.
Understand us.
Govern with us in mind.
Model for us the way to live.
Discuss problems with one another. Work together to take action.
Work with us to change things.
What can governments do? World leaders can help kids. Why don’t they? We ask all of you to help us.
Really listen to the children in your country.
Talk with kids about kids’ problems.
Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Work together so that no kid in the world has to be hungry or stay out of school or die in a war or because there wasn’t enough good health care. Make a world where no kids have to live on the streets or work long hours in factories because their families don’t have enough money to live. Help make a world where every kid can be loved.
Make peace with other people, and good international laws. Stick to those laws.
There are lots of ways to help kids and families. Working together, people of all different countries can share good ideas and provide help for people-for parents who abuse their kids, for families that are having a hard time or for kids when they are in trouble.

We believe it is very important for kids and grownups to begin to work together from countries all over the world. When we met at the International Children’s Congresses-from almost every country-we were surprised to see how much more alike we were than different, and how quickly we could begin to talk and work.

Many of us are especially worried about war and the preparations for war. Money should not be spent for bombs and weapons, but for good things. We all have the right to a safe world so we need to stop fighting and threatening one another. We want adults to listen to us and think about what is happening. We want them to stop people from sending children into war. We want them to understand how children feel about this. We need to help each other and we need to start talking. We want to work to be sure that no kids ever have to participate in wars. No kids 18 or under. And no grownups either. We want no war period.

We believe that it is possible to make a much better world but we will need to work very hard and we will need to work together. First, we need to stop even thinking about war. Then, we need to take the world’s resources and use them wisely. To feed, and clothe and house and take good care of the world’s people. All the people. Right now we are starting with the world’s children.

We are glad that kids and grownups are working together today in such an important effort to help the world’s children. We ask our government’s leaders to ratify and enforce the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Work to feed and care for all kids everywhere. Make a fair and peaceful world where we can grow and take good care of one another. We, the kids of the United States and the world, promise that we will help you.

The Kids from Kids Meeting Kids
Here is another letter written by the kids:
Dear World Leaders:

Kids are important. And right now, everyday, 40,000 kids die because they don’t have enough food to eat or enough good care. They go to war, too. Kids need good food, good home, good schools and not to be afraid. Everybody needs to work together to make that happen.

We kids are very happy that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a kind of Bill of Rights for children, has been adopted by the United Nations. It helps kids stay alive, be safe and be heard. For the very first time, a document has been passed giving rights to all children everywhere, regardless of where they come from or what they look like or who they are.

We know that now the Convention on the Rights of the Child must be ratified or made into law in every country in order to begin to help kids. So we ask you to begin the work that is needed to ratify the Convention in your country, and continue the work that needs to be done so that children’s rights and needs are granted.

We don’t need war. We need a world where kids and grownups have enough to eat and a place to live and schools and people to take care of them. We need peace and more help for everybody. Please work for peace and fairness for all people and help the kids, the future grownups of this world. Work hard for the world’s children and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Thank you for all that you will do to help.

Kids From All Over The World

P.S. We hope that there will be no more wars. We ask adults to stop sending children into wars. We ask you too see that your country makes a promise that if there ever is a war, no children under the age of 18 will have to be in it.