Children are heard: A different democratic future

Children are heard.

Rida, Member of Children’s Parliament, age 13

In November 2023, Members of Children’s Parliament were invited to take part in a three-day residential as part of the ‘Democracy Matters’ consultation. Using a creative, children’s human rights-based approach, the Members of Children’s Parliament were tasked to build their own town – which they called Confidence Kingdom – where children were involved in decision-making processes.

For Rida, age 13, this was her third Children’s Parliament residential. She has shared some of her experiences in this blog.

Member of Children's Parliament's drawing of children creating model buildings.

The first day of the residential, we all gathered together and started to think about how our community – our equal place where adults respected children – should be. After that, we started to make the buildings together, then we started to think about a shape for our town. We all agreed our community should be shaped in a heart. We placed our buildings and homes where we wanted them to be and thought about what this means to us. Then we chose a home, and each got to personalise it. Then we put the homes back down and decorated our town with candles and people. Then we had dinner and watched a movie!

Children discuss the creation of a model town.

The next day of the residential, some younger Members of Children’s Parliament came and joined us. We all got to know each other and had time to speak to each other. After we showed them around our community. Then, we went into groups and came up with ideas about stuff that would happen in our town, and special events that would take place in the town. We presented our ideas and gave everyone a tour around the town. After everyone was done presenting, we visited alpacas, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits. Then we ate lunch and said goodbye to all the Members of Children’s Parliament that came to visit. After we all just chilled for a bit, went outside and had a run around. We put our last final touches and sharpened up our community to make it look nice for the next day.

On the last day, we all were practicing how we were going to share our community for the adults who were going to come. The adults arrived and we all got ready to show what we made and what it meant to us. After we gave them a tour, they asked us some questions and they walked around the community themselves. I spoke to one of the adults and told them a little bit more about the town. Then we all ate lunch, chilled and said our goodbyes.

Members of Children's Parliament guide adult visitors through their model town.

It is important that children are involved in making big decisions as it’s going to impact them as well. It’s unfair if they are just going to have to stick with it, whether they like it or not, and they don’t even get a choice. It also makes children feel included and a part of the community if they get to have their opinions and views. It’s also important as if children are involved, it will make the community an inclusive place for adults and children. It makes children feel important and valued.

Over the residential, I observed what a happy, healthy and safe community looks like. I also became more confident and aware of how children should feel and be respected.

Member's of Children's Parliament chat while they use scissors to cut-out colourful creations.

Being involved in this project made me feel happy to be able to contribute in making children’s views heard, and how the community is supposed to be. It made me feel like I was a part of something important and helping the community become a better place for everyone. This also makes me feel important as I was able to work and give ideas on a community. It also made me feel like children are heard.

To find out more about what Rida and her fellow Members of Children’s Parliament got up to, check out our Democracy Matters project page, where you can also find our project report.

Date: 27th March 2024
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