Jaffna Children's Media Group demands action
[TamilNet, Monday, 16 June 2003, 10:07 GMT]
In a mini-parliament involving the Children's Media Group (CMG) facilitated by the Save the Children in Sri Lanka, Jaffna district was held in Veerasingham Hall earlier this month. In the event, the children of Jaffna called on the decision makers to take action on issues of health and nutrition, child abuse and Education that affect the children. This report contains corrections to an earlier report published in TamilNet.
Full text of the meeting summary issued by "Save the Children" follows:
"The Childrenís Media Group (CMG) held a Call for Action summit at the Veerasigham Hall on the 7th of June 03. The summit which took the form of a mini-parliament called on the decision makers in the district to address the issues that concern the children of Jaffna. The issues they spoke on are health and nutrition, child abuse and Education. The event was facilitated by Save the Children in Sri Lanka- Jaffna district office .
On Education they spoke about the non availability of text books and delays in these resources reaching Jaffna due to what they saw as discrimination. They also expressed their displeasure on the lack of interest of some educational officials to address these issues. They spoke about the problem of sexual abuse of children in the area and also about corporal punishment in schools under the theme child abuse. Child labour and the brewing of illicit liquor for which children are used were problems that the children felt that the Police should address immediately. Under health, they focused on the low nutritional levels of children, a lack of health awareness among parents and children and a lack of health facilities in Jaffna.
After the presentations were made by the children they invited adults to respond to the issues raised. However, the responding adults did not find it easy to answer the questions that children asked in all seriousness. The CMG members were keen to get the commitment of the Zonal Director of Education , Superintendent of Police and the parliamentarians present at the summit to address the issues.
The speakers were willing to commit themselves and also hailed the effort made by children to deal with issues in the district. Summing up the children made their expectations very clear; that they needed a ministerial intervention in child protection and development, that childrenís groups such as the CMG Jaffna should be recognised, that the Government should take over the many childrenís homes (orphanages) and there should be enough support for differently able children and library and playground facilities should be provided for children.
It appeared that the CMG would certainly follow up on the commitments made by the adults until proper solutions are found to the burning issues raised by the children of Jaffna."