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SOS Village holds exhibition on 'Rights of the Child'

Feb 14, 2011, 12:13 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

SOS Children's Village The Gambia on Friday launched an exhibition on the 'Rights of the Child' at a ceremony held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.

The event formed part of the commemoration of 40 years of SOS Children Villages in Africa.

The exhibition portrayed two aspects of the situation where the rights of children are violated and where they are respected.

In her opening remarks on the occasion, Oumou Tall, acting national director of SOS Children Villages in The Gambia, said SOS is an independent NGO that helps in meeting the needs of children, since its inception.

Ms Tall told the gathering: "The Gambia is one of the six countries that have been identified to drive up these 40 years of celebration 'light up my place to growth' in Africa."

The launching of the exhibition is the SOS's first event of campaign on the rights of the children. "Our vision is "every child belongs to a family to grow." She asserted.

Speaking earlier on the occasion, a representative of the executive director of the NGO Affairs Agency, Muskuta Sonko, said that since its establishment in The Gambia, the SOS Village has registered a remarkable success in education, health and other fields.

The initiative is a laudable effort indicating the organization's commitment in complementing government efforts in helping disadvantaged members of all societies.

"It is another clear manifestation of the efforts of the government to creating an enabling environment for the NGOs and other civil society organizations to contribute towards the socio-economic development of the county," she said.

For her part, the director of Social Welfare, Fanta Bai Secka, pointed out that the slogan of the campaign was appropriate for the celebration, especially in the situation of children in Africa.

"The issue of 'I Know what is best for you' doesn't work in the child rights and protection," she said.

She also commended SOS for working so hard to protect vulnerable children challenging community leaders, and community-based civil society organisations to complement government efforts towards needy children in The Gambia. "Respect for child right is not an option," Mrs Secka stressed. 

In her keynote address, Touray Jawara, a representative from the Ministry of Justice, said SOS Village has done well in helping children, providing them with opportunities such as educational and vocational training centres to contribute to their lives.

"The government through its Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has been the primary partner of children" she said.

She added that the government has signed agreements and allocation of lands, ratified the UN Children Right Convention (CRC) and ratified its own Children’s Act 2005 amongst others. "It is indeed a testimony showing the great care the government has for the welfare of children," she noted.

At the end of the ceremony, a display was done by the SOS children on child rights with exhibited material some of which contained pictures, drawings and text of CRC, and postcards.