Field trips are extracurricular programs that have great benefits in the development and learning of children.
During field trips, the right to recreation, gaming and sport, as enshrined in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, materializes. First it is a moment of recreation which allows children to discover new places and to learn something by observing and practicing in the field. For the children Restavek Freedom supports, children living in a form of modern-day slavery called ‘restavek’, field trips promote psychological development and allow them to get to know themselves outside their home and school walls. With the various activities undertaken during these programs (games, sports, creative activities) children acquire self-confidence, a spirit of teamwork and self-help that can change the perceptions they have of themselves, and ensure better social integration.
This was the case for Rose. At the beginning of the school year, this little girl was very shy and would not open up to others. As I got to know her and watched her, I realized that this behavior was the result of the physical and psychological treatment she was subjected to at home. However, during a field trip in which she participated, I was surprised to discover Rose’s true personality.
During this trip I noticed the leadership and the team spirit that she developed alongside her peers. Children were split up into groups for the field trip, and she had volunteered to be the leader of her group, following and carrying out all of the rules. I noticed that the field trip allowed Rose and the other children to express their emotions, let real smiles appear, and let them assert themselves as individuals. When I made the comment “I have never seen you as joyful as today at school,” Rose replied, “This is the first time I have had the opportunity to participate in an activity other than coming to school. I feel good, free and another person and for that I have to enjoy as much as I can.” Since that day the behavior of Rose has changed, and she has become more expressive and happy.
Field trips can be a tool for liberation and psychological development, just like school is. In the struggle against the system of restavek, field trips give children a chance to discover the best of themselves. Thank you to everyone supporting Restavek Freedom for allowing children like Rose to participate in extracurricular programs.
Jacquelin MÉDACIER, Child Advocate