Pro-children campaign ends with stress on education

Educating every child has to be the topmost priority of the programmes if children are to grow up to become responsible citizens of the country. The call - educate every child, stop harming and exploitation, and fight poverty in order to invest in children – topped the list of priority, according to the result of Say Yes for Children, a part of the Global Movement for Children that was made public on Tuesday. The campaign – Say Yes for Children – began in Nepal on July 25 last year as a joint initiative of the ministry for women, children and social welfare, Save the Children Alliance, UNICEF, and Plan International – with an aim to garner support for children’s cause through a referendum, concluded by presenting the results to prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday.“The three critical issues that emerged through the campaign coincide with the priority action areas of the government,” said PM Deuba. “Poverty conservative social beliefs and lack of awareness have been constraints to effective implementation of the Convention for Child Rights.” He affirmed the government’s commitment to promote and protect children’s rights to education, health and survival. “We continue to strive to ensure they live in a safe, clean and healthy environment where their basic needs are met,” he added. The votes on the ten topics – leave no child out, put children first, care for every child, fight HIV/AIDS, stop harming and exploiting children, listen to children, educate every child, protect children from war, protect earth for children and fight poverty: invest in children – was collected through internet, paper forms, air-grams, public service advertisements, manual and electronic voting in public places and visits of various institutions. Actress Manisha Koirala, international youth ambassador for the MTV-Levi’s-UNICEF “Speak Your Mind” campaign recalled her recent visit to Kavre where she met a girl – Chakali – who spent eight years in brothels in Bombay and came back infected with HIV. “How can we prevent more girls from taking the desperate journey that Chakali had gone through? How many more girls have to become infected with HIV/AIDS this way?” she said adding with hope that realisation of the problem and taking a step to resolve the problems would make a difference. “When we are serious about what we can do, and start to make little steps from now, the movement will lead to positive changes for every Nepali child and their future.”Another international ambassador, Wang Lee-Hom who is a pop singer and composer, said that appeals of the children that came through in the campaign echo the priority issues identified in the global movement. “In order to stop the exploitation of children, especially girl children, it’s important to invest in their education, which is also a long-term strategy to break the cycle of poverty,” he said. Over 224,000 people voted in the campaign out of which 58.31 per cent were male and 41.69 per cent were female. The other seven areas identified as priority in the voting are – fight HIV/AIDS, leave no child out, care for every child, listen to children, put children first, protect earth for children and protect children from war – respectively. The United Nations Special Session on children and adolescents is going to be held in New York from 8 to 10 May, which will be participated by over 70 heads of states. Prime minister Deuba is going to New York for the special session.