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NYer Of The Week: Johanna Monge Helps Teach Youths About International Humanitarian Law

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This week's New Yorker is a busy teen who uses her free time to enlighten her peers about a heavy subject. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

On a recent Saturday, 17-year-old Johanna Monge wasn't hanging out with friends. She was leading her peers in a lesson on the laws of warfare.

She does it through a Red Cross program aimed at teaching youths the basics of international humanitarian law. Students experience what it's like to be taken captive as journalists, treated as prisoners of war, and led through a maze of landmines.

"I think if teenagers actually know about this and they are aware about this, they will be really conscious about it and actually try to use their knowledge of technology and all these things to good use try to make change," Johanna says.

Johanna started making a change two years when she went through the program herself. She now volunteers to help lead the group, giving kids her age a real-life education on rules to protect civilians, wounded soldiers and aid workers.

Students learn about the laws, and ethical dilemmas, involved in each scenario.

"Because we don't see armed conflict on the streets here, we don't realize that it occurs necessarily all around the world every single day," says Amanda Cobbe, a youth services coordinator at the Red Cross. "We want to put them in the shoes of what it feels like to be a prisoner of war, what it feels like to be a humanitarian aid worker."

Johanna plans to study international relations in college, to follow in the footsteps of the humanitarian workers she's grown to admire.

"These people are amazing people that actually put their lives, risk their lives, everything, they put it on hold for these people that they don't even know," she says. "They must have amazing souls to be able to put their lives at risk for just helping people. And that's the goal, to help people."

It's Johanna's goal, too. So, for educating teens on the impact of war, Johanna Monge is our New Yorker of the Week.

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New Yorker of the Week
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