From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
Child Platforms celebrate the Day of the African Child with drama performances in Makeni and Port Loko Press Release
By
Jun 18, 2010, 13:22

PRESS RELEASE
Child Platforms celebrate the Day of the African Child with drama performances in
Makeni and Port Loko

Makeni and Port Loko, 16th June 2010 – Child platforms led by the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, War Child Holland and other NGOs celebrated the Day of the African Child with drama performances developed by children. The drama performances were witnessed by key stakeholders including children, councillors, paramount chiefs, mammy queens, and school going youth. Through these performances, the children from Mangay Loko (Bombali district) and Malaykuray (Port Loko district) appealed to the authorities to allocate resources to strengthen Child Welfare Committees.

In Makeni the play was hosted by the Mayor Moses Sesay whilst in Port Loko it was hosted by the Chairman of the District Council (Hon. Ahmid M. Fofanah). By performing interesting and catching scenes of child rights violations in front of an audience of key policy makers from the district councils, the children could directly appeal for more support to Child Welfare Committees. For instance, both plays showed what problems a girl victim of rape in a rural community could experience. There is no Family Support Unit, or Social Worker to assist her. In the play the girl was lucky to be helped by a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) member who was also her school teacher. Many people do not know where to go when there is a problem with children in the community and who can support them. The play helped inform the public about the roles of CWCs.

The Performing for Peace cast from Mangay Loko in Bombali

"The children have been able to incorporate their cultural heritage into the play", said Charlie Haffner, the director of Freetong Players. Charlie Haffner, also known as "Afino" in Atunda Ayenda, was asked by War Child to provide technical support to the young drama groups. He also emphasised that "War Child is doing good work with these drama performances, because of its positive impact on children". "The children learn how to think about their own problems and what potential solutions are". According to Haffner, War Child should continue its support to these children by taking the performance to other communities. "The performance should be held at least 100 times until the local councils and government understand what these children are undergoing and there are CWCs in every single chiefdom and community", he said.

The Day of the African Child was celebrated all over the Country and as normally is the case also in War Child communities. "The children really enjoyed the event", said War Child Project Officer Sorie N. Tarawali. "We were lucky that a Ward Committee meeting was also held in Robat community which gave the children the opportunity to present messages to council stakeholders. They took part in quiz competitions and ended the day with a football match and traditional dance festival".

The Mayor of Makeni City Council, his worshipful, Moses Sesay making a commitment to the children.

Some of the young cast members were invited to radio Mankneh (Bombali) and radio Bankasoka (Port Loko) for a live radio discussion with key stakeholders like the head of the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police and the Desk Officer of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs. This year the theme of the Day of the African Child was "Budget Allocation for Children, our Collective Responsibility". Through this advocacy performance War Child Holland joined this cause and calls for the local council to allocate resources to strengthen the functioning of CWCs.

For more information:

Eamonn Hanson, Project Manager Advocacy and Communications: 076–912513 or through Eamonn.hanson@warchild.nl



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