Rights Now Foundation

MRF – Human Rights Film Festival

The MRF Human Rights Film Festival is an annual event in western Sweden. Each screening is followed by a lecture/discussion with filmmakers, researchers, journalists, public debaters, and human rights experts. The primary audience is school youth, who can attend for free. The festival dates were November 20-24, 2023.

This year, with support from the Rights Now Foundation, we held a total of nine screenings focused on women’s rights, followed by lectures and discussions. We showcased five films about gender equality, focusing on women refugees. Two of the films, “Exodus” and “Dogborn,” depicted the situation for refugee women/girls, while “De ostyriga” looks at gender equality from a historical perspective, the Algerian film “Houria,” and finally, “She Said” which portrays part of the #metoo movement’s inception. These screenings were attended by approximately 1021 people.

Application Year 2023 – Theme: Women and girl refugees

The Good Talents – Talent Network

The Project Talent Network has not only provided practical knowledge but also opportunities for personal development and networking through various workshops, including job and study workshops, leadership training, and storytelling sessions. The results indicate increased self-esteem, greater knowledge of opportunities, and reduced feelings of social exclusion among participants.

The Good Talents looks forward to continuing its work to promote the potential of young people and create long-term changes in society. The Good Talents would like to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to the Rights Now Foundation for your support and funding of our project, the Talent Network. Your trust and commitment have been crucial in making this initiative possible and successful.

Your support has not only given young women tools and opportunities to thrive but has also contributed to creating a positive impact on society by promoting equality, diversity, and reducing social exclusion.

Application Year 2023 – Theme: Women and girl refugees

Right By Me – Girls Right to Talk

The “Girls’ Right to Talk” project conducted by Right By Me focused on empowering young girls with foreign backgrounds, aged 13 to 24, to increase their participation and voice in Swedish society. This was achieved through a combination of capacity-building activities, participation in public forums, and collaboration with companies and policymakers. The efforts aimed to improve the girls’ self-esteem, self-efficacy, employability, and sense of community.

The project reported successes in increased participation in societal debates, improved representation in various contexts, and strengthened individual capacities of the participants. Through its activities, the project contributed to promoting gender equality and participation, highlighting the importance of targeted efforts to give young girls with foreign backgrounds a stronger voice and place in society.

Application Year 2023 – Theme: Women and girl refugees

Test report again

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Children of Lahu – preschool is a hub for growth in northern Thailand

We visit a preschool in a village in Mae Ai district, northern Thailand. The villagers belong to the minority group Lahu. A minority of which several are without citizenship, even though they were born in Thailand. They speak a language that is not in writing. They have no or little knowledge of human rights and no real access to medical care. This is a preschool Rights Now supports – to provide access to education and thus a chance for children of Lahu to create their lives and assert their rights as Thai citizens.

A day at the preschool

We arrive at the end of the day. Children stand in line to get a fruit before they go home. After closing, kids are running around and playing. In and out of bambu huts that are built on stilts with a rickety ladder up to the entrance and with an open hearth cooking place. They run up and down the hills, and their skin becomes reddish from the lightly iron colored sand. Pigs, chickens and dogs walk freely around the village. It is visible poverty by many standards.

In the preschool 39 children aged three to nine years have access to a safe and creative environment where they can practice Thai and numbers. Their parents will be able to work in the fields without having to worry about their kids. Walls in the school are filled with drawings and various creations made by the children. It is a room full of knowledge, creativity and joy. In addition to math and writing exercises, children are served one nutritious meal a day. The children get along with their teachers and learn about hygiene, washing clothes, and knowledge of nutrition. Together, they have planted a vegetable garden to enhance school lunches. If the harvest is good, the children take the vegetables home.

Dreaming of development

The teacher says that she dreams about evolving the school even more, to use new teaching methods and provide the children with more opportunities. For them to take advantage of their dreams and develop their talents. She tries to work with educators at other schools. The village also has a “non-formal school” whose teachers do not always have the chance to come to the village because of other engagements. That is a non formal school; No guarantee that a teacher is present. That is how it works when you do not know your rights when you are not a formal citizen, when you partially live outside the formal society and lack knowledge in the formal and written language. When the teacher from the non formal school is not able to come to the village – the preschool teacher even teaches the schoolchildren.                                                                        She sees needs and takes advantage of every opportunity.

Language, health and confidence – how children grow

After the preschool opened, the children have not only gained an entrance into the Thai language, several children have better health status and self-confidence. Parents have greater opportunities to take the jobs offered to support the family. The preschool has made a clear difference to the whole village, where 78 families live. All of the children can not participate, some need to follow their parents into the fields. Teachers and teacher assistants try to have a dialogue with the parents about the importance of children being in preschool and school.

During the conversation with the teacher and teaching assistant a man steps into the school building. He walks around the room, trying to listen in on our conversation. After a while the teacher explains that he is the “head of village”. He has heard that someone from the Rights Now Foundation is in the village. And, he would like to thank Rights Now of behalf of the entire village. The preschool means so much. Even small means changes the lives of children, parents and families. Provided a greater chance of a life beyond the village, if you will, a life with a greater chance of being free of diseases and to have enough to eat. A chance for more opportunities for people of Lahu.

As told by Karolin Kral, Boardmember of the Rights Now Foundation, visiting the preschool in northern Thailand.

Education about menstrual hygiene, Uganda

The Push Community Initiative (PCI) focuses on education about menstruation.

PCI reports to the Rights Now foundation: ”PCI is aware that Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is an essential aspect of hygiene for women and adolescent girls between menarche and menopause. Quite often, young adolescent girls tend to be less prepared for MHM and suffer from anxiety, apprehensions, fear and shame during their menses. Despite being an important issue concerning women and girls in the menstruating age group MHM is often overlooked by caregivers, parents and other stakeholders contributing to increased defilement and school dropouts.”

“Overall eighty (100) people have been trained on making reusable sanitary pads (90 adolescent girls and 10 adults (para-social workers). The para-social workers are helpful in mobilizing the community and cascading the information on reusable sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene management.”

“There is huge demand for empowerment skills in the community, most especially by women and girls. This was observed when the mothers and older women expressed their interest to join tailoring training and art and craft.”

Push Community Initiative board and beneficiaries with pleasure, extend their gratitude to the Rights Now Foundation for the support and partnership.”

Single mothers and girls in Kochia earn money from hens, Kenya

The organization Kodul Muga supports single mothers and girls in Kochia, Kenya.

Due to the covid-pandemic the planned education on sexual and reproductive health, including the distribution of menstruation cups, had to be postponed. Kodul Muga instead turned their attention to other possible ways of supporting the women and girls. The money was eventually used to support improved income opportunities for the single mothers, in this case in the form of hens. This turned out to be a successful and welcome source of income for the women. It was for example possible to use the money generated to pay for school fees for their children.

Empowerment of women through provision of menstruation cups, Gambia

Thanks to the grant from the Rights Now Foundation the organization GamCup could purchase 800 menstruation cups. These were distributed among women in the village of Tujereng in Gambia. The cups would according to GamCup contribute to the women saving money. The education which was part of the project also improved the women’s knowledge about their menstruation and reproduction. Awareness about sexually transmitted diseases, safety and hygiene is also increased as a result.

After school activities and homework support for children, Romania

The organization Coloboratie Lund – Maxenu supports children in Romania who thanks to the organization can take part in after school activities and receive help with home work. Thanks to the grant from Rights Now Foundation, 20 school children living in Maxenu were able to participate in the activities during the year 2019. Their school results have improved and the project was according to Coloboratie Lund–Maxenu appreciated by the children as well as by their parents and the school staff. The organization Coloboratie Lund–Maxenu emphasizes in its report to Rights Now that the group of children consisted of both girls and boys, which promoted gender equality and integration in society for all.