In the Spotlight: Kenya, Nepal, Dominican Republic

These World Day partners in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean were among the first to report on their 2011 outreach:

In Kenya, planting trees and launching peace clubs were highlights from 14 to 20 November, to “Dignify Childhood” and “Stop Violence Against Children.”

At the Garissa Muslim Children’s Home, local sheikhs prayed for the 300 children there and children everywhere.   Participants including government officials reflected on children suffering from famine, disasters, and living on the Kenya-Somalia border due to two decades of violent conflict in Somalia.

Trees were planted at 10 primary schools in Kabarnet Division, after teachers engaged children on the theme of violence.  Climate change has worsened poverty levels in Africa, and tree planting alleviates the effects.

On 20 November, over 300 children, parents, religious and local leaders sang and danced at Kaptimbor Primary School in Kabarnet Town. They heard Islamic and Christian perspectives on violence and the role of parents and leaders. They issued school uniforms to 46 children. And they launched Ethics and Peace Clubs involving 11 primary schools, before planting trees to commemorate the World Day.

— from the African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace and the Global Network of Religions for Children.

Another set of events in Kenya included religious leaders working with 200 children on 26 November to map out concrete strategies on child protection.  Machakos Interfaith Network in Eastern Kenya organized this along with an afternoon of prayer, fellowship and reflection.   Also, in Kisumu and Isiolo Counties, 100 religious leaders were convened on 20 November to orient and train them in advocacy for child protection and other children’s rights issues.

 — from the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya and UNICEF Kenya.

In Nepal, a series of energetic events took place in mid-November through early December.

In Lalitpur, 142 teenagers from 20 schools and 31 adults prayed; practiced mindfulness with yoga, meditation and friendship games; and discussed “Learning to Live Together” modules.  World Day Chair Kul Gautam attended the conference as a special guest speaker.

In Kathmandu, 85 adults and 65 youth gathered in Shanti Sewa Ashram.  Leaders from Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Christian, Jain, Sikh and Bahai religions prayed and committed to stopping violence against children.

In Dang, 50 students from five children’s homes competed in an art and poetry contest to lift up violence and other themes.

Other events reached 173 students in an interfaith awareness program; 80+ parents, children and others on “Positive Parenting and National Building”; 80 business students; 32 Ministry for Education officers; 25 national level educators;  and leaders at a national seminar on HIV AIDS.

— from the Peace Service Centre, with support from  the Global Network of Religions for Children – Nepal, Youth Society for Peace, Hindu Vidyapeeth-Nepal, and Children’s Peace Home.

In the Dominican Republic, 30 religious leaders signed an interfaith declaration on violence against children.  They promised to promote non-violent values, monitor violence, and foster positive assertive discipline. For each signature, a child lit a candle to symbolize hope for a brighter future.  

This took place at their 17 November World Day celebration attended by 70 persons in the library of Santo Domingo’s major university. They also sent an interfaith supplication to NGOs and CBOs in children’s work republic-wide, to unite everyone in a moment of prayer.

Next, they presented their declaration to Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children and a World Day Council member; and CONANI (National Council for Children and Adolescents).  They did this during the First Central American and Caribbean Event on Monitoring Recommendations of the UN Study on Violence Against Children, in Santo Domingo 1-2 December.  In this way they reached 250 senior government officials, media, international and civil organizations, and youth active in anti-violence work affecting children.

— from the Global Network of Religions for Children, Muchachos and Muchachas con Don Bosco, World Vision, Volunteering for International Development, and the NGO Coalition for Children.

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