Who Celebrates the World Day?
World Day Observance in Ethiopia
Ethiopia celebrates the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children in 2011
The African Council of Religious leaders — Religions for Peace (ACRL—RfP) in conjunction with the Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Dialogue Development and Action (EIFDDA) and GNRC Africa organized a forum in Axum Hotel, Addis Ababa on the 25Th of November, 2011 to mark the World Day of Prayer and Acton for children (DPAC). The day’s proceedings were guided by the theme, “Stop Violence Against Children” with prayers, presentations and discussions being the main activities of the day. Religious leaders from three different religions (Orthodox, Muslim and Bahi) were represented. Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) were the key participants during the forum. EIFDDA’s Executive Director, Mr. Jihad Keno reiterated the joint effort with several Faith Based Organizations in the last six years that has seen over 50, 000 OVCs in different parts of the country receive support. He noted that Ethiopia has signed different conventions relating to children’s rights and emphasized that even with the great strides made so far, the need for support was far much greater considering the overall number of OVCs in the country.
Among the manifestations pointed out there:
- Being very defensive
- Direct confrontation with their families, teachers, etc.
- Lack of trust
- Turning to aggression
- Poor school performance
- Having night mares
- Losing interest in doing things they liked before
- Feeling alone, empty, sad, anxious or uncaring
- Disobedience etc
Religious leaders were called upon to play an active role in combating violence against children.
Among the things that they could do:
- create awareness in the community about the impact of violence against children
- change norms, attitudes and practices
- support, educate and train parents, teachers etc.
- protect and support children who are vulnerable to violence
- extend meaningful support to emotionally distressed street children and child prostitutes
The impact of the one day forum could be summed up with the expression of one participant, “What we consider as simple will have a great impact on the lives of children. The way we penalize them, how we treat them in the house or school, the way we express our love and the words we use when handling them should be of great consideration to us… Children highly need the love of their family”.
Keywords: Africa, GNRC, violence against children, Christianity,Islam, Bahai,