CATS 2017
Inspiring initiatives emerge from the CATS 90 Day Challenge
By Maylis Guillou-Kérédan, CATS Managing Director
Monday, 8. January 2018

Inspiring initiatives emerge from the CATS 90 Day Challenge

By Maylis Guillou-Kérédan, CATS Managing Director

The 2017 edition of CATS (Children as Actors for Transforming Society), part of the Caux Forum, saw the launch of the 90 Day Challenge. The idea was simple: CATS participants thoroughly explored their ideas for a range of topics including the environment, education and peace whilst at Caux. Once home, from 20 August 2017, they had 90 days to put their ideas into action. The aim was to provide the participants with the necessary drive and motivation to dive in and to make a start on a project despite not having to necessarily produce results.   



The Philippines

Over the 90 days, some great initiatives emerged such as the Golden Hand Project in the Philippines, led by Cheryl Cruz, a CATS 2017 participant. Unlike others in her community, Cheryl Cruz has had the chance to take art, music and craft classes. The 90 Day Challenge gave her the opporunity to start a project which would allow the children in her community to take part in handicraft and artistic workshops thereby providing a change from their daily routine. She was set on sharing what she had learnt and to see the children discover new skills. The first workshop on drawing and the ideal community took place on 4 November 2017, attended by 18 children aged between 2 and 16. You can follow their adventures on Facebook.




Over the last three months we have also heard from both Anna Lechowska who works for a child and youth centre in Poland, and the Polish delegation. Once back at home after Caux, Anna and the young people visited the Polish Ombudsman to talk about their experience at CATS. They were also on regional radio and spoke during the International Congress for Children’s Rights which took place in Warsaw in September 2017. The children are working harder than ever, inspired by CATS. In collaboration with their counterparts in other towns, they have organized collages made up of quotes about children’s rights displayed in public places in order to raise awareness. The children and young people are also organizing several debates. One of them is about participating in school life in the hope that initial steps can be taken to create a school council in which the pupils would participate. A national debate also took place in Warsaw on 1 December 2017, notably on violence and corporal punishment against children, a topic that is dear to all of us as it will be the theme of CATS 2018. You can also follow them on Facebook.



South Africa

Some of the other projects have moved away from their intial aim. This was the case for Zakhele Mazibuko and Milandre Vlok who did not have enough time or money to implement their initial idea. However, far from letting this discourage them, these two South Africans decided to give children and young people an opportunity to voice their opinions on the changes they would like to see in their towns and schools by creating children and young people’s councils. These councils are just the beginning. The idea is to start taking action so that in 2018 the children’s suggestions become reality.



Regardless of whether or not the CATS 2017 participants have stuck to their original plan, we’re proud of them. Since Caux they have spread our values and for that we are extremely grateful. We were very impressed by this first 90 Day Challenge and we can’t wait to repeat it next year!