1: Introduce the fictional character ‘Sam’. Specify that Sam is their age and from their community, but do not specify any other details, such as gender or faith or disability.
2: Discuss the multiple meanings of CWTCH (i.e. a cupboard, a cuddle, a safe place).
3: Provide each child (or pair of children) with a box and a coloured pipe-cleaner. Let them know that they will be making a stick figure of Sam and a ‘Cwtch’ for Sam to live in.
4: Make a human figure from the pipe cleaner. This will be Sam. As they are making Sam, encourage children to reflect on what Sam’s Story might be. Who is Sam? What does Sam look like? Where does Sam live and who with? What does Sam really enjoy doing? Is Sam scared of anything?What dreams might Sam have about the future?
5: Place the box on its side, so that the two opening flaps become the entrance doors. Decorate the outside of the box (but not the doors) with all the different things, people and places, that make up Sam’s life.
6: On the outside of the doors write what someone might think or say to Sam if they saw Sam on the street. Choose to write two or more things.
7: On the inside of ONE of the doors, write two (or more) things someone could find out about Sam if they spoke with Sam for 5 minutes.
8: On the inside of the other door, write two (or more) things that an acquaintance (e.g. neighbour, classmate, family friend) could know about Sam.
9: Inside the cwtch write something that only someone who knows Sam really well would know, or that Sam themself might only know [if it is difficult to write inside, open up the box and tape back up again]
10: Using the shredded paper, place Sam (pipe-cleaner figure) somewhere inside or outside the Cwtch. If there are enough pipe cleaners and time, children could make other figures to be with Sam (e.g. friends, family, pets, bikes etc.)
Ask for volunteers to share their cwtch with the group. Explore differences and similarities. Discuss how they found the task:
Did they think their version of Sam or their cwtch would be the same as anyone else’s in the class? in the world?
What do people miss when they look at the outside only?
Why are identity rights important?
What do children need so that their identity rights are protected and realised?
How might we share what we have learned with others?
Remind everyone that each person has a unique identity of which they can feel proud.Remind them that each person’s individuality is important to the community and relate this to your group or school values. Ensure all children know who they can go to talk to for support or advice (see the Safety and Support section)
Make a Cwtch Identity wall, or hanging mobile, from the boxes; display in a space for others to view (e.g. you could make the shape of a large shoe, and call it ‘Walk in Sam’s Shoes’). Accompany the display with inspirational quotes about children’s right to an identity; and freedom from identity-based discrimination or abuse (Article 8 of the UNCRC).
Make a poem, song or drama from some of the stories that each describe a different protected characteristic.
Before you begin adapting this activity for the children and young people in your setting, read the section on Safety and Support.