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By Pequeñ@s Ciudadan@s staff

“Pequeñ@s Ciudadan@s”, which translates to “young citizens”, is an educative program directed to elementary students coursing 4th, 5th and 6th grade in public, private, and care schools. The program’s mission is to promote and diffuse the concept of Culture of Legality throughout these schools, aided by the help of professional volunteers.

¿But, why do we promote Culture of Legality? México is in need of citizens that are active, tolerant, just, creative, and respectful towards the law. México needs citizens that grow in a society in which they are aware of their rights and their responsibilities, and understand that the use of dialogue and active participation creates a peaceful atmosphere in which the law is applied to all.

2015 granted Pequeñ@s Ciudadan@s a year full of challenges and achievements: we were able to impact 4,327 students from 27 public schools in Monterrey and its metropolitan area with the aid of 207 volunteers and 65 community service students. We received the Hagámoslo Bien award for which we were recognized as best organization. We accomplished many goals, and there is much more to come.

To learn is a challenge itself; to learn to act like a citizen is a personal, communal and global challenge. Citizenship is learned by means of knowledge and practice. Children learn their alphabet letter by letter, practicing each individual shape and sound, which provides their base for reading and writing. Likewise, learning about citizenship parts from the same concept: our rights are the letters, and our participation, reflection and legal frame constitute the shape, sound, and transformation of words. If in the first example we learn to read, in the second example we learn to become active citizens.

Being an active citizen is a question of knowledge and action: it implies auto regulation, dialogue, tolerance, and willingness to establish equal treatment and opportunities.

We can learn to become participative citizens by fortifying the key concepts of justice, tolerance, participation and equality in our society. If we educate children with the concept of Culture of Legality, we will raise children with initiative towards citizenship and experience with projects concerning social transformation, democratic process, and rule of law. México needs participative citizens in order to exercise democracy.

The education of Culture of Legality begins with teaching children about their human rights, and explaining how children can also become participative, reflective, and peace promoter agents of change in their society. Young citizens, or “pequeños ciudadanos”, are those who are aware of their right to health and therefore respect their environment and their wellbeing. Young citizens are those who are aware of their right to education and therefore participate in school activities. Young citizens are those who are aware of their right to safety and therefore respond to aggressions in a peaceful manner, promoting dialogue and a peaceful atmosphere. As a program, we value children as people with rights and responsibilities, and our duty is to raise them to be participative citizens in their society.

The program allows children to participate in playful and reflective activities where they are able to detect current problems taking place in their school, family or community, thus brainstorming proposals and reflecting upon the actions needed to involve competent authorities.

In Pequeñ@s Ciudadan@s we are convinced that the formation of a Culture of Legality fortifies each child’s spirit, promoting reflection, teamwork, and problem solving.

The next generation of children will be the future leaders of our country – it is our duty to familiarize them with the concepts of solidarity, tolerance and legality. May we educate them to respect other’s opinions, solve problems peacefully, and understand the consequences of their actions.

Follow us on our social media pages, where you can find educative videos, advice and information on educating children with the concept of Culture of Legality. If you are interested in making a donation, you can access our email at hola@pequenosciudadanos.org.mx or visit our page www.pequenosciudadanos.org. By donating, your contributions will help us reach more children and make a bigger impact. Help us promote and diffuse the concept of Culture of Legality!