Human Rights Soundbytes

04/05/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Heidiminx DIY Activism: Founder and face of Built on Respect

About two weeks ago, I found a video on Facebook -- it explained human rights. What made it interesting to me were a few things:

First, it started asking people on the street WHAT ARE human rights? People were better able to explain what they weren't -- but not what they were. No one seemed aware of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948 after the vast devastation of WW2.

Second, once I'd visited the site, I found a bunch of very small videos -- that dealt with each right. I was intrigued how they had captured what I might call more 'minor infractions' -- in everyday life. For example, a cell phone goes missing and a stereotype based on race comes into play -- assumptions of theft are made... this is used as an everyday example of "innocent until proven guilty".

I'm not going to pretend, I certainly didn't know all 30 -- I just knew how to recognize their violations.

I reached out to the group, and they sent me a kit -- it has two booklets, a DVD, and some really useful information. They encourage you to educate yourself and others, start a chapter -- a good DIY, enabling approach.

As I was reading, I found they offer a free teacher's kit. It comes with about 50 booklets, a lesson plan, and 30 posters -- one for each right.

To make me smile even more? They ship it for no charge, even internationally. Needless to say, I ordered it. I'm having it sent to India -- and I want to take it to the different NGOs. Human Rights is a massive topic -- and to have free access to concise clear information is really important. It's available in multiple languages as well.

In McLeod Ganj, conversation classes are popular with the different NGOs. Students (all of whom are Tibetan refugees) attend these classes to improve their English, and learn more about different cultures. The Hope Center, where I frequently volunteer, had noticed that the students were very proficient in English as it pertained to some topics -- namely, "How did you come to India?" So, they began to have a "topic of the day" -- to make sure there were diverse discussions. I think these articles may make fascinating subject matter and a great cultural exchange.

You can learn more at their Web site: and

The only downside -- if you want to share their videos with your friends, you cannot do it from their site -- but they are easy to find on YouTube.