marți, 3 mai 2011

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.  (William Stafford)

Right To Play

Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play builds local capacity by training community leaders as Coaches to deliver its programs in 20 countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. Founded in 2000, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has national offices in Canada, Norway, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The national offices raise funds, build awareness for Right To Play programs and advocate for Sport for Development. The organization has its international headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Protect children

The Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees the right to play and recreational activities to all children. However, millions of children are denied this right, never experiencing this vital aspect of their development because of war, disease and poverty.

UNICEF, in conjunction with FIFA, and several well-known football players, such as David Beckham of the United Kingdom, El Hadj Diouf of Senegal and Luis Figo of Portugal, is helping children around the world fulfil their right to play through football. With a host of organizations working on the ground, UNICEF and FIFA are targeting hard-to-reach young people – those driven from their homes by war, for example – with programmes that use football to help them reclaim their childhoods.

UNICEF has found that football can help children recover from trauma by encouraging their physical and emotional development. Football helps provide a return to normalcy, fosters self-esteem, and encourages teamwork, which can be a valuable tool in conflict management and peace education.
UNICEF in the Field

In southern Sudan, UNICEF has sponsored football matches for demobilised child soldiers returning home from war and trying to reintegrate into their home communities. Many former child soldiers, faced with scorn from community and family members, often undereducated and lacking vocational skills, and deeply traumatised by their combat experiences, have difficulty returning to civilian life.

The UNICEF-supported football matches provide an organised re-introduction to the community, in which children are not under pressure to talk or explain themselves but can slowly adapt to their old surroundings while working through tensions and aggressions on the playing field.

In Afghanistan, Albania and Macedonia, UNICEF has helped to establish ‘child-friendly spaces’ in refugee camps as places for recreation and informal classes for children.

At the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, many children are playing football for the first time in their lives. Because the Taliban banned games, UNICEF workers are finding themselves in the novel position of explaining to children what playing means. In Herat, in western Afghanistan, UNICEF has also helped organize football matches at the Maslakh camp for internally displaced persons, where more than 50,000 children live.

In Liberia, thousands of children have benefited from programmes which are aimed at providing war-affected youth with life skills, as well as outlets to help heal the countless emotional wounds of conflict.

In Sri Lanka, UNICEF has helped organize a 'Bridge to Peace' initiative that will bring together Sinhala and Tamil children from opposite sides of the country's civil war to play football. UNICEF is also working with FIFA to provide footballs, nets, equipment, training and coaching to needy children throughout the country.

During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, May 31-June 30, UNICEF will attempt to negotiate ‘Days of Tranquility’ in regions beset by conflict, so that it can distribute school supplies and recreational equipment as well as provide children with immunization and other health services. 


Every child has the right to play and rest (Article 31)

Did you know that if you are under 18, you have the right to leisure time in which to play and/or to rest? Your right to play and rest helps you to develop to your fullest potential.

This UNICEF-supported school allows children to learn and play in a safe, child-friendly environment while also providing bilingual education to ethnic minority children – in Vietnamese and their indigenous language. Although 95 per cent of all eligible children attend primary school in Vietnam, an estimated 20 per cent of the children of the 11 million members of ethnic minorities do not have access to basic education. Adolescent girls are especially at risk of being denied their rights to play and education because of poverty, cultural biases against gender equity in education and the lack of properly equipped child-friendly schools. In Vietnam, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to provide bilingual education to ethnic minority children.
What can I do?

As a Student, I can:

    *Volunteer at a summer camp for children and develop activities with the campers to promote their right to play and to leisure.
    *Take action by surveying adults who are responsible for safe play in the lives of children (e.g. how do they incorporate play and recreation as well safety into their plans?) These adults could include government workers in sports and recreation, architects, landscape and interior designers, planners, health professionals, teachers, and coaches.

As a Teacher, I can:

    *Explore with my students the meaning and benefits of unstructured free play, and how it can form part of the school day.
    *Teach children’s rights through art.

As a Parent, I can:

    *Talk with my children about the importance of the right to rest and to leisure. Try using a UNICEF Canada activity to play and learn with my children.
    *Create games that incorporate the values I want to teach my children (e.g. patience, respect, sharing and team work) or create a special place in my home where children will be able to engage in unstructured playtime and rest peacefully.
    *During the holidays, suggest to my children a special day in which screen time is replaced by other activities such as board games, sports, reading, music, and resting.
    *Explore sport/activity-related policies in place to protect my children at school and in my community. (Statistics Canada reported 242,000 sports related injuries in one year. Children are sometimes placed in situations where the risk of injury is unreasonable and likely; penalties and rules that would curb risky behaviour are often not enforced.)

Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything.  (Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone Scelto)

Water, sanitation and hygiene: keys to a dignified life

In the same way that water is the essence of life, relying on
sanitation and hygiene services implies the coverage of basic
universal needs that, for many, is a luxury. Their impacts and
benefits are immediate at a domestic and community level, but
despite this they are frequently ignored as critical elements that
allow families better performance in their daily activities within
a healthy environment. Children are especially vulnerable to illnesses because of a
contaminated environment. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), improvement in the supply of water
reduced child mortality caused by diarrhea by 21 percent, but
by the simple act of washing hands at critical moments this can
reduce the number of diarrhea cases by up to 35 percent.
Regional programs and projects have promoted the
participation of communities in driving their own change, by
promoting secure hygienic practices and access to basic
services, especially in excluded populations, almost always
dispersed, such as indigenous groups, suburban and rural
populations. Following is presented a selection of
these experiences.

The right of children and adolescents to a healthy environment

   Everyone has a right to enjoy sufficient and safe water which is physically accessible, as well as sanitation services appropriate to achieve adequate quality of life and sustainable development.
This right also embodies access to a variety of other rights that directly or indirectly related to water and sanitation, such as the right to a healthy environment, health, and adequate nutrition.
  In this context, the right to a healthy environment for children and adolescents implies their access to quality basic services and a proper environment that protects health and encourages full development of their capacities. A healthy environment is an integrated concept that acknowledges homes, schools, and the communities as key settings where the greater part of childhood and adolescence takes place where knowledge and life skills are acquired. This article focuses on access to water and sanitation, in light of international commitments that points to quality access to such services as a central theme that binds environment to health—for instance, article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 10th goal of the Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002).

luni, 2 mai 2011

The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives. (Robert Brault)

UNICEF: Without a protective environment, it’s a harsh life for children

Millions of boys and girls around the world are subject to trafficking, are without parental care, or lack documentation they need to attend school and access basic health care. Millions more are forced to work under harmful conditions, while others face violence or abuse in their homes, in their schools, in their communities, in institutions or while in detention, often from the adult entrusted with their care.
These issues are reviewed in a new UNICEF report, “Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection,” released by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in Tokyo today.
The report gathers together for the first time data on a range of issues that impact on children, including sexual abuse and trafficking, child marriage, physical punishment of children, child labour, birth registration, the harmful traditional practice of female genital cutting, and attitudes toward violence against women inside marriage.
Some abuses – such as sexual exploitation and trafficking – are usually committed in conditions of secrecy and illegality, which makes collection of accurate data challenging.
Where data are available, some progress is evident. For example, the data shows that in Bangladesh, Guinea and Nepal – three countries where child marriage is prevalent – the median age of marriage is rising, although it is still below 18 years of age. The report also identifies a slow decline in female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in countries where such abuse is common.
Included in the report’s findings are:
  • More than half the children in detention worldwide have not been tried or sentenced.
  • In some parts of the world, the births of two out of three children were not registered in 2007. In Somalia and Liberia less than 5 per cent of births are registered. Birth registration is an important element in building a protective environment for children for a range of reasons, including that without a birth certificate they are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, trafficking and illegal adoption.
  • More than 150 million children between 5 and 14 years of age are engaged in child labour.   Child labour is often both a result and a source of poverty. It can compromise a child’s education and perpetuate the poverty that pushed them into the workforce.
  • More than half of women and girls in developing countries think that wife-beating is acceptable and, younger women are as likely to justify wife-beating as older women. In most regions, neglecting the children is the most commonly cited justification for wife-beating.
The report also offers a strategy to improve child protection, identifying five areas of activity that are needed to improve protective environments for children:
 1) improving child protection systems;
 2) promoting social change;
 3) enhancing protection in emergencies;
 4) strengthening partnerships for greater impact; and
 5) collecting reliable data and using such data to achieve concrete results for children.

Child's rights for a protective environment

 Article 18
1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.
2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.
Article 19
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
Article 20
1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

   Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.  (Harold Hulbert)