Australian student Elijah Lewis wants to live in a world without war and where young children can live in peace rather than being forced to become child soldiers*.
Elijah, 15, used these wishes as inspiration* when he created a huge 3m x 2m mosaic* of an African child soldier using 2128 Rubik’s cubes*.
The Year 9 student said he decided to create the image of the child soldier after reading about the experiences of child soldiers in Africa.
“I feel all children should be able to grow up safely. I feel so bad, that people the same age as me are living lives destroyed by war. Their lives had been marred* forever, but not because of any choices they have made themselves. They are being forced to fight, live lives hiding in the forest and far from their homes, family and friends,” he said.
“I am horrified that little ever gets done about this. I believe when people read or watch the news and hear about war and violence, we should be thinking what children, families, mothers and people are affected, how thousands of people’s lives will never be the same, not just about how that affects us.”
VIDEO: Watch a timelapse of the child soldier artwork being made from Rubik’s cubes.
Child soldier timelapse
Elijah completed the artwork as part of a project called Create to Advocate at his school, Donvale Christian College, in Melbourne’s east in Victoria. He estimates he took just 30 to 40 hours to complete the work, which will be put on display by World Vision at its headquarters in Melbourne.
Elijah said every sticker you see on the Rubik’s cubes represents 100 children living in an extreme war where there is active fighting.
Using a digital picture of the soldier, he then created the pixelation* using an online program, but had to modify it significantly to create the final product.
To give meaning to his project, Elijah has also committed to taking World Vision’s Peace on Earth Pledge*, which is an online program giving Australians real ways to help reduce conflict around the world, whether it’s by making peace with a friend or family member, or by helping someone in a refugee camp on the other side of the world.
The pledge provides these 10 ways to contribute to peace:
- Learn more about children displaced* by conflict
- Tell PM Scott Morrison: “How good’s peace!”
- Take a stand to end violence against women
- Call on our leaders to make Australia a top-10 peace builder
- Help vulnerable children displaced by war
- Take a stand against racism
- Buy a toy for a child affected by conflict
- Make peace with a long-lost family member or friend
- Get to know your neighbours
- Donate to a foodbank for displaced families in Australia.
Elijah has committed to pledges 1, 7 and 9.
After you take the Peace on Earth Pledge, World Vision Australia will contact you via email to help support and encourage you to deliver on your pledge.
For example, if you sign up to Pledge 1, World Vision will send you the latest information and needs of children affected and left homeless because of conflict.
More details at worldvision.com.au/peace
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
As we approach the Christmas period of goodwill, the Peace on Earth Pledge highlights how preventing conflict helps to stop human suffering.
It supports the release of a World Vision Australia conflict prevention paper, which calls for:
- The Australian Government to dedicate more Australian aid to peace-building projects that work with children and faith leaders (two approaches that work, from World Vision’s experience)
- Increased funding to help people experiencing conflict to be kept safe via more humanitarian aid
- The Australian Government to become a top-10 nation in contributions towards conflict prevention (currently 13th).
HOW THE WORLD CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS
Later this week, Kids News will release its digital inquiry kit on How The World Celebrates Christmas.
It comes with 50 activities on Christmas for just $5 including GST.
The kit will help students understand the history and evolution of Christmas, the religious and cultural aspects of its celebration and how traditions vary across the world. It aims to encourage students to consider how they can think of and spread kindness to others during the festive season. Plus there are fun activities to get students into the Christmas spirit!
The kit content covers:
- World festivals of Christmas
- History of common traditions and characters
- Food, culture, songs and movies of Christmas
- How to have a sustainable Christmas
- How to say Merry Christmas across the world
- Fun Christmas facts and world records
Visit kidsnews.com.au/education-kits in coming days for more details.
- child soldiers: children under 18 forced into armies to fight with guns against the enemy
- inspiration: creativity or bright idea
- mosaic: a picture created using small pieces of stone, tiles etc
- Rubik’s cubes: a puzzle in a cube shape with multi-coloured squares
- marred: ruined
- pixelation: causing an image to break up into smaller pieces
- pledge: promise
- displaced: forced from your home or country
- How many Rubik’s cubes did Elijah use in his artwork?
- How long did it take him to complete it?
- Why did he use a child soldier as the image?
- Which Peace on Earth Pledges did Elijah take?
- Where does Australia sit on the world list in contributions towards conflict prevention?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
Create a ‘10 ways to contribute to peace’ poster based on World Vision’s Peace on Earth Pledge. Give your poster a bright and colourful heading and write the 10 ways kids and their families can contribute to world peace. Illustrate and design your poster so that it stands out, is clear and easily read and catches people’s attention enough to want to read it.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts
Choose 1-3 of these pledges that you might want to undertake before Christmas. Write them down and then write down how you would like to achieve the pledge so you can take it home and discuss with your family. Do you think this is a good project to try and create more peace on Earth?
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and social
The glossary of terms helps you to understand and learn the ambitious vocabulary being used in the article. Can you use the words outlined in the glossary to create new sentences? Challenge yourself to include other VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation) elements in your sentence/s. Have another look through the article, can you find any other Wow Words not outlined in the glossary?
HAVE YOUR SAY: Which of the Peace on Earth pledges would you take?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.