The Children Rights Festival in The Bottom on Wednesday, November 20, the International Day for the Rights of the Child, had a good turn-out by children, youngsters, parents, volunteers, and representatives of government, the schools and a few organizations.
Commissioner of Youth Affairs Rolando Wilson performed the official opening with a short speech. This year is the 30th anniversary of the universal Convention of the Rights of the Child. Wilson mentioned some of the rights that children have. “We have to make sure that you have access to quality education, health care, an adequate standard of living, a clean and safe environment for you to live and thrive,” he said.
However, the Commissioner also reminded the children and youth in the audience that these rights come with responsibilities too. “You need to make sure that you go to school and pay keen attention so that you learn well and advance yourself,” Wilson said. MC Alisia Wilson of the Community Development Department had a similar message. Besides doing their best at school, it is also important for children to respect the opinion of others.
The event on Wednesday, organized by the Community Development and Public Health Department in cooperation with Youth and Family Caribbean Netherlands (JGCN), included various fun activities, of which many had an educational aspect. There were games like rope pulling and mind games, but also face painting and picture taking.
The West Indian Cooking Club of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) offered several kinds of snacks. Several other clubs of SCS were present to give information and offer fun activities, including the Kite Club, the Master Mind Games Club, the Robotics Club, Saba Nature Education with the Sea Rangers and the Hiking Group. SCS has 28 clubs in total which are active from Monday to Saturday.
The Sacred Heart Primary School (SHS) had free books for the children. At the stand of Body, Mind and Spirit (BMS) children could pick a building block depicting the different children rights, play a game and have their picture taken. BMS and SCS have a Human Rights Club. JGCN offered information on domestic violence and child abuse.
The Public Health Department was present with a small-size baby clinic where the children could weigh, measure and examine the health of a teddy bear or doll. There was information on contraceptives and the parts of the body. “The children are very interested in the baby clinic. They are keen to learn how the body works. The teenagers want to know about the changes to their body during puberty and why this happens. But we also bring awareness on sexual education. It is important to talk about that subject,” said public health nurse Tedisha Gordon.
Other stakeholders that assisted with the event and were present included: Child Focus, the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force, Mental Health Caribbean, EC2 and the Saba Conservation Foundation. A number of activities are taking place on Saba this week in connection with Children’s Week.