Friday, 24 July 2015

International Day of Friendship

On 30th July each year, the International Day of Friendship is marked. Proclaimed only four years ago in 2011 by the UN General Assembly, the idea is that by developing friendships with each other, different communities, countries and even continents, bridges can be built and peace can come as a result.

"On this International Day of Friendship, let us cultivate warm ties that strengthen our common humanity and promote the well-being of the human family."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

All across the world, this has been celebrated. Individuals, communities and small to big organisations have spread the word. Just a quick search on Twitter shows there’s a lot going on. While many children develop friendships from a very early age, keep some, and make more, others do struggle. This may just be from time to time – facing temporary difficulties which ‘sort themselves out’, for example – but for some, they may go through year after year of finding it hard to make friends. There are many reasons for why this could be, but for this very reason, it’s essential to talk about it. This could be with someone they trust in particular, for example a parent or teacher, but as well as this, how about with their peers?

In many countries, the curriculum provides some guidance/stipulation that teachers must cover bullying for example, but not all. Plus, the way this has to be done is not usually enforced. If there was a simple way to trigger discussions in this area, with the help of some easy-to-use technology, would you try it? Even as just a starting point, then things go from there. This is why, to celebrate the International Day of Friendship, we have made our English/Citizenship/PSHE app/mystery story free for two weeks (until 7th August). While it can be used with any students you think suitable, the target age range is around 6-7 years old.

In pairs, or threes, students sit around one iPad and read 15 slips of information (interactively, on the iPad). They must start making sense of these together, helping each other to group them and work out why a young girl called Amy didn’t go to school this particular day.

It helps students:
  • to recognise how their behaviour affects other people, to care about other people’s feelings and to try to see things from their points of view
  • to listen to other people, and play and work cooperatively
  • to understand that there are different types of teasing and bullying, that bullying is wrong, and how to get help to deal with bullying
If you want to try it, visit the App Store here now, search 'Digital Mysteries Amy' on the App Store or read a bit more about it on our website.

More information on the day from the UN’s website

“The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.”

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