A name and nationality are indispensable and a basic right for every child.

Winner of the International Children's Peace Prize

2010

"A name and nationality are indispensable and a basic right for every child."

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Francia Simon

1 in 5 children under the age of five live without a name or nationality

Fights for

The right to a name and a nationality

Success

Emphasized the importance of being registered and helped many children obtain their birth certificates

Location

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The impact of Francia & KidsRights 

  • Obtaining a birth certificate and access to education for more than 900 children
  • Is a founding member of The KidsRights Youngsters, inspiring children and youth worldwide to become changemakers
  • Supported many children after a major earthquake in Haiti

Francia’s story 


Francia was born in 1994 in the Dominican Republic, where she grew up with her Haitian mother and a partly Dominican father, who left them when she was 9. The village where Francia lives is very poor and consists mainly of Haitian refugees who were forced to leave Haiti. Because of this, they live in the Dominican Republic without an official status. This is also the case for the Francia’s parents, who fled from Haiti before she was born. Francia has been fighting for years to improve this situation.
 

Right to a birth certificate

When Francia wanted to go to secondary school, she discovered that she cannot enrol as she is not in the possession of a birth certificate. Since her father was no longer around and her mother was Haitian, they could not help her. Fortunately, an aunt of Francia could register her, after which she received herbirth certificate and could continue her education.

Once Francia learned that every child is entitled to an identity including a name, surname and nationality, she decided to use her knowledge and energy to help other children obtain their birth certificate. In this way, she could help others to get access to education and health care. This also makes children less vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.

“Every human being has the right to happiness. Therefore, I decided to help and go for it.”

Francia’s actions

Francia would go around the doors in her community to inform people about the right to a name and nationality and to ask if they are already in possession of a birth certificate. She would help those who did not yet have this certificate. She guides them through the complex application process and accompanies them to the authorities, so that they can also obtain a birth certificate. It often happens that the judge rejects the request because of Haitian origin, Francia shows that everyone is entitled to a name and nationality. She makes sure that the registration actually takes place. She has helped many children obtain their birth certificate this way. “Because of my age and small stature, they thought they could just send me away, a Chiquita (little girl) like me. But I wasn’t intimidated, I put on a serious, almost angry face, and asked for an appointment.” 

Earthquake

Besides fighting for the right to an identity, she also devotes herself to helping Haitian refugees from the earthquake in 2010. She took care of many child refugees who came to the Dominican Republic. She provided them with shelter and organized sports activities and other games for the children to distract them from the acquired trauma.

“Young people are the future of the world. There are many serious problems but governments do not take them into account, we have to be the change of hope. We have to contact authorities about present issues, in order to solve various issues in our countr

KidsRights & Francia


Supported by the KidsRights Care and Study fund, Francia is studying International Relations at the University of San Domingo. It is quite a task to combine the care for her child with her work and study. However, Francia believes that her study is essential in her fight to stand up for vulnerable children in society.

KidsRights supports Francia as a changemaker in her fight for the right to a name and nationality. Francia is not planning on stopping her work yet. On the contrary. In the future she wants to continue to help children, in places outside of her current residence as well. 

Dominican Republic #95 KidsRights Index 2018

Our projects

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Acting for the right to name and nationality


With the help of the Children’s Peace Prize Project Fund 2010, KidsRights has supported Francia in her fight for the right to name and nationality. Two different projects in the Dominican Republic have been supported. One of these projects has supported families in the birthplace of Francia to improve their standard of living. Many of these families lived in poverty and could barely survive from what they earned. The project has invested in the entire community and appropriate skills have been taught. The other project has focused on improving access to education for children, as well as assisting children in obtaining their birth certificates.

“We are group of heroes”.

Speaking out 


Francia is a founding member of The KidsRights Youngsters; a unique youth-led advocacy and awareness raising platform of the International Children’s Peace Prize winners, that aims to realize children’s rights, as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As leading young changemakers, they act locally, speak out to world leaders, influence policy, and engage children and youth worldwide.

Follow The KidsRights Youngsters on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

“Every human being has the right to happiness. Therefore, I decided to help and go for it.”