Rights from the Heart | Addressing Children’s Rights With Your Students


*  This post was written by Mariana Santillan, cultural and educational project manager and intercultural communication consultant.

Inspired by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Rights from the Heart is a series of animated films about children’s rights that takes us on a voyage of discovery through the stories it tells, stories that are sometimes difficult but always touching.

Produced by Thérèse Descary, the series has 3 parts, aimed at specific age groups. Each part includes 7 films that are unique both in the stories told and the animation techniques used. The films do not need words to provoke strong emotions, and they have made their way around the world over the past 20 years and been seen by hundreds of children, who appreciate not only the stories but the post-screening discussions and activities as well.

The films come with guides designed to enhance children’s understanding and help them build their own opinions on the topics covered. These comprehensive guides go deeper into the Convention and its impact on the daily lives of millions of children, as well as emphasizing that it’s our civic duty to promote and protect it.

The series is also an excellent tool to explore children’s rights in an academic framework, especially in the context of Universal Children’s Day on November 20. Rights from the Heart encourages us to be more than spectators—it incites us to take action!

Here are some ideas for activities to do with your students:

For younger students

Organize an interactive exhibit of students’ drawings and invite spectators to leave comments or propose initiatives or solutions regarding the themes presented. These contributions can be added to the exhibit in the form of a collage. Next, set up a joint action with your class, through which students can make a real difference in the lives of other children (send books or goods to an association, for example).

Films for ages 5 to 8 include 1,2,3 Coco, Papa, T.V. Tango, The Orange, Door to Door and A Family for MariaThese films are available for immediate viewing by CAMPUS subscribers. You may already have a subscription to CAMPUS through your school. Go here to find out

You can find the study guide (Part 1) here.

For intermediate students

Ask students to research effective initiatives that exist in relation to children’s rights, especially projects implemented by other youth. Encourage them to analyze how the projects arose and were developed, and then to gain an understanding of their impact. Create a pilot project in class and encourage students to conduct interviews, perform student shadowing in local associations, meet with elected officials, seek scholarships or aids for project implementation, create a blog to document project development and gather ideas from their friends, family and the public. Officially present the pilot project as part of the November 20 activities and see where it takes you!

Films for ages 9 to 12 include Jonas and Lisa, The Tournament, Overdose, An Artist, Baroque’n Roll, Ex-Child and Why?These films are available for immediate viewing by CAMPUS subscribers. You may already have a subscription to CAMPUS through your school. Go here to find out.

You can find the study guide (Part 2) here.

For older students

Ask students to organize lectures or debates on themes they found particularly meaningful. Ask them to invite people working in the field of children’s rights to collect testimonies, share experiences, compare viewpoints, explain the work performed at various levels and talk about how the students too can contribute. Push students to explore opportunities such as volunteering in a local association, participation in a youth exchange, or visiting another country as part of student shadowing or a work placement.

Films for ages 13 to 17 include Duel, Narco Blues, The Cora Player, Locked, Trade, Masks and DeathtrapThese films are available for immediate viewing by CAMPUS subscribers. You may already have a subscription to CAMPUS through your school. Go here to find out.

Personally, I really enjoy the Rights from the Heart film series. It was made with passion and makes us share in that passion. The series as a whole succeeds in making us feel and think, opening our horizons and encouraging us to act!

You can find the study guide (Part 3) here.