At the beginning of 2019, class 4d of the school in southern Meschenich had a series of lessons on democracy education and thus came across the topic of children’s rights.
The children were not aware that rights explicitly exist for children and that they are entitled to them. They have noticed that the situation at the Kölnberg does not correspond to the rights of children. They began to talk about the conditions of the playgrounds on the Kölnberg – from rubbish to the lack of play opportunities. So the class came up with the idea of writing a letter to the Rodenkirchen district council with all the points of criticism, pointing out that the children at the Kölnberg are not able to exercise their rights. In doing so they mainly referred to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The letter caused a great stir. Since UNICEF and the City of Cologne were inviting 500 participants from 40 countries in 2019 to
internationally strengthen the rights of the child, the City of Cologne launched the campaign “One Year Child and Youth Friendly Cologne”. This provided the framework for our cooperation project.
Our goal was to strengthen the rights of the children at the Kölnberg. On several workshop days at school and at the tennis court on the Kölnberg, we designers got to know the children of the “monkey class”.
We talked a lot with each other, learned what it means for children to have rights and what they understand by rest, leisure and play. From this, we developed ideas and concepts together on how the empty tennis court can become a place where children can play undisturbed. We have worked with the children together much creatively we students served as amplifiers of their voice and acted as a support for visualizing their statements and wishes, regarding the play and leisure situation for the children at Kölnberg.
Together with my fellow student Friederike Nussbaum, I took care of the logo and the slogan, as well as the design of t-shirts.
When we first went to the school, we drew with a group of children and started to create our first visual worlds. We asked the children how they imagined their dream skatepark or playground and if they had any ideas for a logo or a cool slogan. Hannah, one of the girls from the monkey class, threw the slogan: “We Are Strong” into the room and wanted to make the message of the children, who stand up for their rights, understandable to everyone. “We Are Strong” stands for the fact that together with the children we can make a difference. Hopefully also for future generations at Kölnberg. Together with Hannah I developed the logo button, which only needed to be digitized. In order to break down briefly and easily understandable what this project is about, there is a small claim around the logo: “Strengthening children’s rights – a cooperation project of the monkey class and Ecosign”. While the other fellow students took care of photography, film, banners and the construction of ramps for a skate park, Friederike and I did a screen printing workshop. Together with some children, we printed around 50 T-shirts with the previously created images.