Students at H.J. Cody School recently took part in WE School’s We Are Silent, an initiative to help give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.
“It’s a program that was first introduced by Free the Children, who have since rebranded as WE Schools,” Interact Club instructor Alana Routhier said. “The students go silent in honour of those whose voices have been silenced by war, poverty, slavery and child labour.”
According to the website, taking a vow of silence helps people understand what it’s like to not be heard.
“Issues like child labor, child soldiers and access to water and education, drown out the voices of youth across the world,” the WE website states. “Everyone deserves the chance to live the life they choose—not one chosen for them by poverty, illiteracy and happenstance. Take a vow of silence for a day to better understand what it’s like to have your voice go unheard.”
Routhier expanded on this idea.
“It’s a way to bring awareness to light that many kids have way different lives than kids here in Canada,” she said. “They don’t have the chance to get an education because some of them are enslaved as early as four years old. Some of them have even been sold by their parents who do not have enough money to feed them and some work from a very young age.”
The organizers at WE Schools created a guideline on how to run a We Are Silent campaign:Investigate and Learn
Create an Action Plan
Report and Celebrate
This is what H.J. Cody achieved and many students were actively involved with day – many of which were not members of the Interact Club, which organizes most of the WE Schools related events at the school.
“It’s fascinating to see that a lot of the students participating are not in Interact but are motivated by the fact they have empathy for people with very difficult lives,” Routhier said, adding events like this seem to catch on well around the high school.
“Kids who get involved end up feeling a lot of enthusiasm and they then share that with others,” she said.
Routhier has noticed more and more students are learning how to become active members of their community. “When Interact first started, we noticed kids weren’t aware of how they can get involved,” she said. “They would say they didn’t know what they could do to help the community or to make the world a better place.”
“With Interact, these students now have an understanding on how they can help the world,” she said. “A lot of it is empowerment and once they start feeling empowerment through volunteering and international projects – it becomes infectious.”