If you’re like many Canadians, you have a hard time pulling away from the coverage of elections.
With all of the storylines, the huge personalities of the politicians and pundits, and the idea that history is being made live on TV, it’s easy to forget that the issues at stake are real. Sometimes, having the right to vote on those issues can be taken for granted. And in the developing world, not everyone has that right.
Learning about democracy and good governance is part of many of the education programs World Vision influences. While in Honduras earlier this year, I visited a school right before their school elections and spoke with one of the candidates.
Running for Prez
Ten-year-old Laury’s expressive hands speak just as clearly about her passion to improve her school as her articulate words. Laury was in Grade 5 and seemed worthy of being elected the next school president of Pedro P. Amaya.
When I met her, Laury was representing the 720 students in her school’s government as secretary.
The elected students had a good year. They organized contests and sports competitions, ran a mosquito prevention campaign, and implemented Honduran government-designed green initiatives, such as using World Vision funds to purchase garbage cans to help keep the schoolyard clean.
Laury told me the school still needs sprucing up and if elected president, she would repaint the building a sunny yellow. Initially, Laury joined the school government because she was fascinated when her brother and his friends became members. Now, she said, “The government allows me to participate more in school.”
That’s what the Ministry of Education wants to hear; they have encouraged student-led school governments to promote democratic values in children. Any student in Grade 4, 5 or 6 may run for a spot in the cabinet and everyone gets a ballot. The school government also fits with World Vision Honduras’s goal to increase kids’ participation in class—to mould them into good citizens.
Who To Vote For
Laury, a math whiz with an A-average, clearly had the right attitude. Her favourite part of being in the government was “being able to help other kids and help the school get better with its projects.”
Wishing her luck on the election, I asked if she had any desires for public office outside of a classroom. “If I became president of Honduras,” said Laury, “it would be the greatest thing in my life.” She would have my vote.
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