‘Given the right opportunity children can address some of the major concerns of their generation’

‘Given the right opportunity children can address some of the major concerns of their generation’

“Universal Children’s Day, also known as World Children’s Day, is a global day for children, celebrated every year on November 20 to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD) is delighted to join the rest of the world in observing this auspicious day.

“Today is not just a day packed full of fun activities. It is a day with a serious goal, where all nations come together to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and advocate for the welfare of children. In the words of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), it is a day with a strong message, where children learn about their rights and raise their voices on issues impacting them.

“Children have powerful voices. Given the right opportunity, they can contribute towards addressing some of the major concerns of their generation. In our roles as leaders, we must at all moments stand by them and strive to be their biggest and strongest advocates, especially to our very young ones who are yet to find their voice. That is why today is of great significance to the early childhood sector. It reminds us of our obligations of putting children first. To continuously advocate and support the right policies, services, programmes and initiatives that guarantee their rights, an adequate standard of living, health, education, family life, play and recreation and, more so, to be protected from abuse and harm.

“As a small island developing nation, we have made significant progress in upholding our children’s rights. Children are the light of the world. And, as a nation, we can and must do more to defend and ensure their rights and needs so that they can shine ever so more brightly.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” ‒ Frederick Douglass. Hence, on this particular day, I appeal to the whole of Seychelles, especially to our community members, parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, family friends and neighbours, to be our children’s safe-harbour and protector. Collectively, we should take a zero-tolerance stance against any maltreatment against children and, indeed, to letting them feel precious in every way that we can because our children are our future!

“We know that the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has also left many young children more vulnerable, threatening the most precious phase of their life. Our children do not deserve to be victims of the pandemic. If there is anything we have learned from this pandemic, it is that together we can achieve greatness. Together, we have the power for our children to overcome and triumph in this challenging time, for every day is a day for them to reach their full potential.

“Let the saying ‒‘It takes a village to raise a child’ to be more than just a catchphrase. Instead, let us honour this special day starting by truly standing by these words, to muster all of our efforts to safeguard our children, treasure them and prioritise the needs that would allow them to grow up to become the torchbearers of tomorrow.”