Our vision is to raise awareness about human rights among women, men, and children all over the world.
An awareness of one’s human rights can be a source of strength and courage. It can be life changing for someone living under oppression. My Human Rights is a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen the human rights of men, women and children all over the world. We do this by spreading awareness of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) in an innovative and pedagogical way.
Our vision is to give women, men, and children all over the world the opportunity to know their rights and the support to fight for them. We believe that we can play a small part in changing the world. My Human Rights was founded in 2012 by Emma Wistrand and Carin Granlund Olsen.
MY HUMAN RIGHTS – TIMELINE
Emma Wistrand was working with a project to encourage women to become entrepreneurs, and developed a box of inspirational cards that aimed to strengthen women to believe in themselves, their abilities, and their capacity to start their own businesses. The inspirational cards formed the basis for the idea that finally came to fruition with My Human Rights and our vision to raise awareness about human rights though simple and decorative educational materials.
On the 18th of March, Swedish Radio’s foreign correspondent Nils Horner reported from a women’s shelter in Afghanistan. He interviewed a woman named Faria. She had fled from her home because her husband had dug her a grave behind the house – he planned to kill her. The neighbors were able to warn Faria, who was now in hiding at the shelter. Nils Horner concluded the report by stating that many women in Afghanistan grow up with little awareness of their human rights. There and then, Emma Wistrand felt that she had to do something for Faria and other women like her. But what? What could she do to help spread the word to these women about their human rights – about their equal worth? Perhaps it would be possible to combine the format of the Inspiration cards with the texts of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The text on the cards would communicate the exact meaning of the different articles, but in a way that could be easily grasped and understood.
A small working group started production on what came to be our first set of materials: My Human Rights. Helena Lunding took on the work of illustrating the 61 one cards, which each represented one of the rights-based articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the UN women’s convention. The texts were written by Ylva Björn and Emma Wistrand. Carin Granlund Olsen was responsible for production, and Jessica Stigsdotter Axberg for the graphic design. The texts were the fact checked by a number of human rights experts. We contacted then president of UN Women, Maud Edgren-Shori, about collaborating on distribution and printing. UN Women liked the idea and we started work on finding financing for the project.
Together with UN Women, we applied for a grant from Svenska Postkodsstiftelsen, which was approved in September. A few months later we had My Human Rights, in both Swedish and English versions, in our hands.
Emma visited the UN Women headquarters in New York. They agreed to fact check the cards and write a letter of recommendation. We were also happy to learn that the UN bookshop agreed to sell our boxes.
An eventful year. On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, we organized an exhibition with the cards, as well as several of the articles on large canvases. The same year, Olof Palme International Center funded a fact check and translation of the cards into Arabic. Our greatest challenge was to get the Arabic translation fact checked, and we received great help from the Jordanian ”branch” of the Raul Wallenberg Institute in Amman. This year, we also recorded all the articles and produced a sound installation for the Swedish Forum for Human Rights, which took place in Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Lars Hässler, Lexter Ljuddesign, and the actors Katarina Bothén and Magnus Mark all worked pro bono. And this was the year that our next idea started to take shape – to make new material, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Emma Wistrand and Carin Granlund Olsen establish the non-profit organization, My Human Rights. They work with the non-profit, and the development and production of the materials, without compensation, alongside their regular work. Work begins on the material on children’s rights.
We produce our new material, I Am A Child. I Have Rights. Emma Wistrand and Ingrid transform the articles of the Convention into self-affirming, easily understandable messages. Kari Modén is brought on to design and illustrate the cards. The texts are fact checked by experts, and Carin Granlund and Jessica Axberg produce them. Olivia Olsen translates the cards into English. By the end of the year, all the cards, the user manual, and the box are ready to go to print. Meanwhile, we’re in discussions with Save the Children about collaborating on distribution and printing.
Save the Children collaborate with us on I Am A Child. I Have Rights. On October 8th we, together with Save the Children, launch the new material at Wetterlings Gallery in Stockholm. We produce canvas paintings and posters of all the cards for what becomes a well attended and much appreciated event.
Together with KNUT, Kommunalt Nätverk för Utveckling (Municipal Network for Development) – a collaboration between Nynäshamn, Salem, Sundbyberg, and Södertälje municipalities – we produce the material, A Quick Guide to Children’s Rights. The material is made for administrators of financial assistance with Social Services, as a practical tool in their work. In the fall, Sachsska Children’s Hospital order their own edition of I Am Child. I Have Rights with their logo, as a Christmas gift to all their employees.
Hyper Island takes us on as a project and present us with a brilliant idea for teaching material based on I Am A Child. I Have Rights. We hope to realize it soon. We produce a coloring book in collaboration with Save the Children, which is distributed during children’s rights theme days at IKEA stores around the country. We participate in a conference with the Nordic Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and our materials are met with great enthusiasm from the participants. The enthusiastic response is so encouraging, and we’re filled with new energy to continue our work to raise awareness about human rights. We begin developing a manual for people working with integration of newly arrived refugee children.
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