12 February is the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers – also known as Red Hand Day – and to mark the day this year we invited schoolchildren to submit their very own red hand posters showing their support for the issue.

Well, we have been overwhelmed by the response! 

Schools from across the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Japan took part and we were delighted to receive student submissions.

It was not only the sheer volume of carefully created and well-thought out designs that arrived at our offices but the poignant messages many students had put on their posters.

Red means STOP - stop sending child soldiers to war. We are just kids; some people forget that!

On 21 February we co-hosted an event at the United Nations in New York to celebrate the 18th anniversary of OPAC – the international child soldier treaty – and we were delighted to take along a selection of the Red Hand submissions to showcase at the event.

The engagement of young people to raise awareness of the suffering faced by many children in conflict – child soldiers have been used in at least 18 countries since 2016 – is an important tool in the fight to end child recruitment.

With so many brilliant submissions, it has been a difficult task choosing a winning school but we are thrilled to announced that Ernest Righetti High School in California has been selected as the standout campaign for 2018.

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign! We are hugely appreciative of all of the schools and students who stand alongside us as we work to end the use of child soldiers.

Changing the world, one hand at a time

If your school would like to learn more about child soldiers and take part in our Red Hand Day Campaign for schools you can do so here. For educational materials and lesson plans for all ages you can visit out Schools page. And if your school would like to set-up a fundraising event or page, more information can be found here or email us on [email protected] and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.  

Children are not born to fight, so let them be free