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Recognising the rights of children

On 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Since that time, it has become the world’s most ratified international treaty, safeguarding children’s rights to survive and thrive, to participate in society and to be protected from harm.

While the lives of millions of children around the world have improved since the CRC was introduced, many children still live in a world where they are not able to say: “I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I have a future.”

ChildFund believes it is fundamentally unfair that a child’s birthplace can determine the type of childhood they experience. As such, we strive to enable all young people to be safe, confident and resilient, able to play active, constructive roles in an increasingly turbulent world.

I am educated

Without an education, children like Khet Khet in Myanmar have limited chances to escape poverty

Access to education remains a major barrier for many children in developing communities, especially girls and children from ethnic minorities.

In Myanmar, ChildFund is partnering with the Monastic Education Development Group (MEDG) to ensure girls like eight-year-old Khet Khet (pictured above) can stay in school and break the cycle of poverty.

Khet Khet’s mother left school at eight years old and now works for a small wage lugging bricks and heavy stones all day so she can provide for her family, who live in a makeshift hut on a rubbish dump.

“If my mother is not able to work and we have no money, I am worried I won’t be able to go to school. If I cannot go to school, I cannot be a teacher. I will have to be a servant and do what others ask of me,” says Khet Khet.

ChildFund Myanmar is focusing on training teachers to deliver quality lessons to young minds, building more classrooms and improving educational environments, and funding school lunches so that children like Khet Khet can reach their full learning potential.

I am safe

 

ChildFund PNG’s national helpline is helping women and children feel safer

ChildFund Australia believes that every child has the right to live without fear, in a safe, non-violent, protective and nurturing environment.

Launched by ChildFund Papua New Guinea in 2015, the 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain is helping to tackle epidemic levels of violence against women and children. Callers to the free helpline are assisted by trained phone counsellors who provide information, crisis counselling and referrals to a range of support services, including the police, medical assistance, legal advice, safe houses, family support centres and child welfare services.

“In a country where rates of family and sexual violence are at endemic levels, the 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain is not only providing a vital and much-needed service, but potentially has saved lives,” ChildFund Papua New Guinea Country Director Manish Joshi says.

I am heard

 

Hien in Vietnam is one of many students around the world learning her rights through ChildFund programs

The CRC enshrines childrens’ rights to participate in society, and be consulted on issues which affect them directly.

Hien was one of many girls from remote communities in northern Vietnam who took part in ChildFund’s Connecting and Creating Leaders, which gives children opportunity to attend district and national forums, where they talk with local and national officials about the issues affecting them.

When child representatives return from the forums they arrange regular meetings with their schoolmates so they can share information and ideas.

“I think children should be aware of these issues and raise their own voices against the problem, especially child abuse and violence because they dramatically affect a child’s physical and mental development,” Hien says.

“With knowledge and skills, children can protect themselves from these issues.”

I have a future

 

A ChildFund program helped Mai in Laos learn weaving so she could earn money for her family

ChildFund implements a range of programs which prioritise the health, wellbeing and resilience of children.

This includes supporting parents and families in developing communities, providing them with the tools to build a better future for their children.

Mai, a mother of two, lives in small village in Nonghet district, northern Laos. Like 80 per cent of the people in her area, Mai comes from a farming family. Along with looking after the household, she helps her husband plant corn seasonally. This provides an income for the family – although not very much.

After hearing about ChildFund Laos’ special vocational training program just for women, Mai got excited. She now weaves Lao skirts based on patterns provided by ChildFund, as well as her own creative designs. Each piece of clothing she weaves can be sold for US$14 – enabling her to earn around US$100 every month.

“Our family income is a lot higher now, thanks to the skills I’ve learnt from the vocational training conducted by ChildFund. Being able to weave garments has really enabled me to provide more for my children – including new school uniforms and essential school items,” says Mai.

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