Children are not only tomrrow’s leaders, but they are today’s citizens
By Nooranie Muthaliph
BB Sri Lanka
After the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, the world heard various stories about the impact it had on children. These stories influenced many people to do research to confirm/contradict the many rumours. What is below is based on a research conducted by a US NGO, called Breath of Hope Foundation.
It is a known fact that Indonesia & Sri Lanka recorded the highest damage as a result of the Tsunami tidal wave that occurred on December 2004. It was also revealed that these two countries had the highest percentage of child conscription, trafficking, abuse, non-schooling and many other issues. What was even more shocking was Sri Lanka having the highest percentage in relation to Indonesia.
Here in Sri Lanka our leaders discuss protecting our children from all the issues they face, but most often these are only limited to discussion & nothing productive is done to actually protect our children.
But still you might wonder why you cannot see these issues in the faces of these little children. Having lost parents, relatives, homes and experiencing great psychological and physical pain, the increased pain of being victims of abuse by opportunists, these poor children have gone through probably the most difficult times of their lives. It’s as if they have become immune to disaster and misfortune, and the world doesn’t really see their pain. The Tsunami probably didn’t
bring anything new to them, but just worsened their living conditions.
Even before the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, children were greatly exploited, being sold to tourists (by their own parents) and so on. The impact tourism has on the country’s economy, is probably what puts the brakes on the authorities taking action against such improper acts. The parents of these children driven by poverty, are most often left without a choice.
In today’s Developing World every one emphasizes that children are tomorrow’s leaders of the world, but all have forgotten
that they are also today’s citizens.
It’s now time to think about what the Sri Lankan Government is doing to protect the Future Leaders and today’s Citizens.
It is true that institutions such as the National Child Protection Authority, other governmental institutions looking in to this issue, foreign diplomatic missions here in Sri Lanka such as UNICEF, Save The Children and other NGOs working in
these field do exist. But still, concrete evidence of a proper foundation to protect our children from these issues and give
them the chance to live & benefit from the opportunities available, is not yet visible.
Ask these questions from your selves; have you contributed to empowering children to come out and fight for their fundamental rights? Have you ever spoken against a person who might have ill treated a child who was in the bus you may have been traveling in? Simply what have you done to stop such exploitation? Or are you the culprit?
Its time to be the Change we all want to see in the Future, because our children are not only tomorrows Leaders, but they are today’s Citizens as well.