I want to be a hu­man rights ac­tivist – pupil

Saturday Star - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK

SHANE Bassin doesn’t hes­i­tate when asked about the field he would like to pur­sue once he leaves high school: be­com­ing a hu­man rights ac­tivist.

“I want to change the lives of oth­ers and make a dif­fer­ence in the world,” says the 18-year-old pupil at King David High School in Links­field.

It’s a dream he has worked to­wards all his life. “Ever since I was a lit­tle boy I’ve been help­ing people, through my mother who runs a num­ber of out­reach projects and who has devoted her life to the ser­vice of oth­ers. She is a hu­man­i­tar­ian and she in­spires me very much.”

So it’s hardly a sur­prise that Bassin, the head boy, has been the driv­ing force be­hind a num­ber of suc­cess­ful hu­man rights aware­ness cam­paigns at his school.

Last week, he and his peers at King David launched the #IEx­ist cam­paign, aimed at en­cour­ag­ing pupils to lear n about var­i­ous so­cial crises.

Topics in­cluded hu­man traf­fick­ing, gen­der and dis­abil­ity in­equal­i­ties, the refugee crises and geno­cide.

“The past week was in light of Hu­man Rights Day. To com­mem­o­rate this, the stu­dent body and staff (close to 1 000 in to­tal) launched the cam­paign.”

It’s a call to world lead­ers, de­mand­ing they give “all the lost, wan­der­ing people who are de­nied iden­ti­ties, a voice”.

It en­cour­ages com­pas­sion and ac­tion for those who do not have voices, through the ac­tions of young people.

Bassin, a CEO Sleep­Out Youth Am­bas­sador, says he and his school mates hope to take the cam­paign fur­ther.

“In­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies, schools and or­gan­i­sa­tions are all en­cour­aged to take part by post­ing their #IEx­ist photos and videos on­line to cre­ate an in­ter­na­tional wave of aware­ness.”

The re­sponse to the cam­paign has been over­whelm­ing, he said.

“Our school has re­ceived hun­dreds of emails. It’s been a talk­ing point in the community, and a lot of people have shared pictures on Face­book and other so­cial me­dia plat­forms, so that’s re­ally great. The cam­paign is very pow­er­ful and has had an im­pact on stu­dents and their lives.”

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