Last week we celebrated children’s rights in style at Southbank Centre’s festival, WHY? What’s Happening for the Young.

It was an incredibly inspiring and fun few days of performances, workshops, talks and debates. It encouraged us all to learn about and celebrate children’s rights, along with the thousands of children and adults who took part in the festival. 

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A highlight for us was Hidden our exhibition of photographs of young carers being displayed in the Royal Festival Hall for the whole of WHY? festival. Visitors could read about the young people’s lives, portraying just some of the stories of England’s 166,000 young carers which are, too often, hidden from society.

Speaking to young people

At our stall in the WHY? Marketplace, badge-making and a giant word search proved to be a big hit with children and young people of all ages (and adults, too!). We asked children to explore what makes words positive and negative, through voting for words they like or dislike and choosing words to write and decorate their badges. This was very enlightening (see photo gallery above) and shows how language can affect how young people feel.

In another part of WHY? festival, a conference day for professionals, Caitlin and Cyrus who worked on an investigation into poverty and schools with the Children’s Commission on Poverty talked to the audience about their work. They described their year-long investigation, inquiry and report exposing the reality of school life for children in poverty. They explained how issues like the cost of school uniform, meals, resources and trips can make school extremely difficult for children in poverty, and what can be done to help. 

WHY? 2016 was a thought-provoking and vibrant event, and we were proud to take part. One thing came across loud and clear: always listen to what children and young people have to say. To uphold children's rights, we must focus on the lives, experiences and voices of young people.

We can’t wait for WHY? 2017. See you there!

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Posted: 1 January 1970

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Young carers

Posted: 15 November 2010