ROAD TO RIGHTS
Today most individuals do not know what their human rights are. This lack of awareness and knowledge leads to human rights being abused or disregarded as individuals are unable to safeguard or assert rights that they are unaware that they have. The Road to Rights International Project (“RTR”) was founded in Sri Lanka in 2009 and brings awareness to basic human rights issues. RTR seeks to empower women and children through human rights education, developing skills and knowledge, and creating awareness through community programs, conferences, workshops, and social media campaigns. RTR also takes a unique approach by combining an education on Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs"), a mandate to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that everyone has peace and prosperity, with a Human Rights Platform. RTR teaches this curriculum to the younger generation. The SDGs aspire to end poverty by 2030 and promise to leave no one behind. The RTR campaign utilizes its effective education platform with the goal of making the SDG 2030 referendum a reality by uplifting the younger generation, instilling a sense of responsibility, and providing a solid understanding of rights, community, and the significance of each member's contributions to the global community. The Road to Rights team provides youth with opportunity, a comprehensive human rights foundation and is shaping the younger generation into a well-informed group that is poised for great success.
- The Road to Rights is currently active in 18 countries and seeks to influence policy and decision makers with grassroots activities.
- The Road to Rights Program has held numerous meetings with the minister of education in Sri Lanka regarding the development and implementation of human rights education throughout the country.
- Road to Rights selected as a finalist out of 740 nominations from 125 countries for the United Nations SDG Action Award. The UN Assistant Secretary General sent a video recognizing Road to Rights and its team leader, Ashan, and for their excellent work.
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES
- School Educational Program: this is the primary activity of Road to Rights. Educating young people about the importance of human rights and what our human rights are at an early age is the primary objective of RTR. RTR conducted more than 450 workshops over the past few years and implemented 67 school programs last year. RTR also ran programs at the University of Colombo, University of Kalainya, CFPS Law School, and other educational institutes of higher learning in Sri Lanka.
- My World Street Campaign: this campaign commenced in 2014 and takes place once a week each month when volunteer students from the University of Colombo educate citizens about the importance of human rights. During this week, the volunteers go to public places like parks, shopping malls, and railway stations to educate people while distributing Human Rights Booklets and leaflets. The street campaign has reached new volunteers and supporters while being a very enjoyable endeavor for those involved.
- My Rights My Goals Campaign: The RTR campaign is an active participant in achieving sustainable development goals (“SDGs”) as a partner of the My World Global survey. Human rights and SDGs are intertwined and closely related. Do to their interconnected nature, SDGs and human rights can be achieved together. RTR launched the “My Rights My Goals” campaign in 2015 to offer youth action plans on SDGs that incorporates human rights awareness in schools, institutions, and governmental bodies while also maintaining a grassroots presence in Sri Lanka.
- The United Cup: this program uses athletic activities as a tool to educate about human rights and achieve tolerance, understanding and social inclusion. Sports events provide a powerful platform to promote human rights and bring awareness to them. RTR has conducted workshops on human rights for prominent sports figures in Sri Lanka and currently is working with the Sports Minister to devise programs for national sports teams to promote Human Rights through sports in Sri Lanka. To date, the United Cup has attracted top Sri Lankan sports figures and celebrities to endorse this project and RTR plans to hold beach rugby events in the future.
- Road to Rights Youth Forum: a campaign where ideas get instilled in the younger generation. As a youth-centric organization, the Road to Rights team works towards educating and empowering young people through human rights education and a forward facing 2030 agenda.
- International Human Rights Day and the White Night: On International Human Rights Day every year, the Road to Rights Foundation provides a platform to educate and spread the concepts of peace, unity and equality to thousands of citizens through the Rights Day and “White Night Walk” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Road to Rights started the International Human Rights Day walk in 2010 and in 2013, incorporated the “White Night Walk” into the the event.
White symbolizes peace, candles symbolize hope and glow bands symbolize diversity. The first year included over 5000 people who partnered with Road to Rights to effect change. Included were many dignitaries, policy makers, business leaders, youth organizations and our younger generation who lead the Road to Rights campaigns. The numbers and influencers involved have increased since the first year with last year’s event including over 10 Parliament Ministers, the Deputy speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, participation from 42 organizations, schools and large businesses. The event was broadcast on national television in Sri Lanka and has created a grassroots movement of those wishing to create a world where human rights, peace and unity are a reality.
- Intl. Walk for Human Rights: an annual even that takes place on December 10th in Sri Lanka. It first was held in 2011 and because of the support we received for the event and participation in celebrating the International human rights day, this event was brought to the national stage in 2013.
- Intl. Youth Day Celebration: the "Celebrating Diversity” International Youth Day Celebration organized by The Road to Rights was held on 10th August 2013 in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka in collaboration with Youth for Human Rights International & My World. The program consisted of a discussion about human rights, a workshop on the role of the United Nations in guarding human rights and activities to give the students a platform to express their ideas on rights and liberties. Children were educated on their human rights and given an avenue to better their environments.
- The Peace Expo and Colombo Food Festival: On December 9th and 10th 2017, The Peace Expo and Colombo Food Festival 2017 occurred and provided a platform to showcase and promote human rights activism. The 2017 lineup included a Sustainable Development Goal Media Zone and International Human Rights Day celebrations. A peace-walk took place on December 10th, commencing in the Independent Square. After the walk, there were many influential dignitaries in attendance including President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and United Nations Representatives. The event was a convergence of several parties interested in human rights related activities. Children entered the expo at no cost and could select different projects to volunteer with based on their interests. Individuals and groups interested in investing in and supporting these projects were able to meet outstanding young individuals with new concepts and build partnerships with them. The SDG Media Zone held discussions on Sustainable Development Goals, human rights and youth. The media zone was aimed at entrepreneurs, policy makers, decision makers, social media advocates and young journalists.
FUTURE GOALS & EVENTS
- Expand the “My Rights My Goals” campaign: the My Rights My Goals campaign is an effective ongoing endeavor that RTR seeks to expand to a larger scale involving 1000 schools in all 25 districts in Sri Lanka.
- LEAD Creating Future Leaders: this project will develop the leadership skills of children and women and provide a platform for leaders to share innovative ideas on leadership and reach a wider audience. The project will also include hosting a leadership conference to create passionate leaders who are aware of human rights and responsibilities as part of an effort to create an empowered community.
- Human Rights Friendly Cities: this program seeks to create cities where all its citizens understand their human rights and responsibilities. This educational outreach initiative will ensure that people are aware of their rights and responsibilities through impactful activities implemented in the targeted cities.
- Meet the Minister: this platform will provide young Sri Lankan children with the opportunity to meet one of the Ministers of Sri Lanka to discuss social issues and policies and discuss how children can contribute to these matters proactively.
- Charity Cafe: The RTR Charity cafe will be a fundraiser for RTR activities. Charity cafe will provide unique food for its customers and will partner with hospitality institutes to allow their students to do their volunteer hours at the cafe. This partnership will enable RTR to maintain a profitable cafe with minimal operating expenses.
- Green Girl Campaign: designed to educate and empower young girls to be environmentally conscious. Program participants will be coached by experts and have interpersonal strengths and leadership skills developed.
- Purposeful Play: this campaign strives to empower people and communities using sports and will raise awareness about the importance of diversity, cooperation, and fairness.
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