LET’S DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY …… TO BE MEANINGFUL FOR THE CHILDREN
Inspiring 250 children through 14 children’s clubs with the intention of enabling underprivileged children to gain experience on how to convince authorities to achieve child rights is an activity being implemented in Vavuniya District. This action is launched by RAHAMA Organization in collaboration with the Divisional Secretariat in Vavuniya North, and the CSO named WSEEDS (Women Social, Economic, Empowerment and Educational Development Society), and also the parents and well-wishers in the area.
RAHAMA project in Vavuniya is funded by NORAD through FORUT Norway. The hypothesis of this child centered activity is to address the abnormalities being faced by children which are serious issues affecting children in particular in rural areas. Accordingly, this premeditated programme is to strengthen the Child Clubs to develop concern on the Child Rights among the authorities, parents as well as the children.
The day 08th. Of October .2022 was a memorable day for the children in 14 children clubs who could perform an advocacy task with the aim of pursuing authorities in respect of child rights. In this regard a presentation was attended by children followed by a participatory mapping exercise. In the session one the presenters requested the authorities to take early action to provide the adequate transport facilities to the school children to attend their schools in a timely manner. They also highlighted the punishments being given for children in schools. Children also invited respective staff in schools to visit the club meetings to listen to the grievances of children and to introduce best practices instead of punishing etc.
In the sessions 2, children together with parents were asked to draft a short narration on the status of their villages. This session included some basic facts related to each village, to introduce whether those are traditional villages or resettled villages. The added information were more on social economic aspects such as; the existence of conflicts or peace, the socio-economic status, resources available in villages, the prevailing differences of cast / religion, age limits of marriages, and the levels of contribution of women in social matters.
The session 3 was to do a “risk mapping out” on villages they live. The children and parents were asked to mark more risky areas such as, with unprotected wells, pocket areas with lesser number of families and other aspects threatening the children. Finally children could determine the risk areas in their respective villages.
The guests attended in this event were; the Divisional Secretary in Vavuniya North, Zonal Education Director – Vavuniya North, MOH in Vavuniya North, Police officials and the Team Leader of RAHAMA project. Children presented their map-out situations to the notice of the guests and the main problems stated by the children are listed below.
- Close proximity to the jungle, unprotected wells and the recognized locations famous for drunkards and drug addicts.
- Un-safe railway barricades or crossings which can be harmful for villagers.
- There are drug traffickers targeting children.
- Due to the limitary of public transport many people are used to follow other ways of travel Eg: to follow foot paths in the jungle which are subjected for the risk of wild animals particularly the wild elephants.
At the end all the guests could understand the problems and challenges being faced by the children in their villages. Based on the messages shared through the mapping out sessions, the DS – Vavuniya North expressed his willingness to send Development Officers to each rural hamlet to diagnose the existing problems and to bring forth solutions be worthy for the deserved children.
It was a very successful event and concluded with handing over of gifts to the participants. Children in two to three age categories expressed their positive feelings on the day’s session and also acknowledged the effort of RAHAMA to broaden the knowledge on child rights and to get more attention of the authorities to resolve the problems being faced by them.