Recently,Save the children held discussions with Media Resources and Training Centre(MRTC) affiliated to the University of Jaffna about the current situation of child abuse in Jaffna . Mr. Devanand, the Director of MRTC felt that it will be of paramount importance and relevance to the students of media to have knowledge on child rights and child protection because as they complete their diploma and become the eyes, ears and the voice of society, they can play a major role in both preventing and reporting on child abuse in the district.
The training which was held during the final week in July included; an introduction to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; reporting to the UN CRC Committee by the State; types of child abuse; child protection structures; media’s role in reporting on children’s issues and interviewing children. The training was followed by group assignments where all 50 students in small groups, visited villages and found stories about children’s issues and reported them on a medium of their choice. This was done as a competition among the teams to select the best three in terms of the presentation of content. During the visits, the students identified many child rights violations. one group was instrumental in re- enrolling a 14 year old boy who had dropped out of school due to parental separation.
The winners of the competition identified a village in Thellipalai division which did not have a preschool for the last 24 years. The team carried out an investigation and found out that the Grama Sevaka had occupied the building in which the preschool was functioning previously. The teams’ efforts started the process to reopen the preschool ensuring the right to education for all the children in the village. The team which was placed second, explored the structures and services available for psychosocial support for children while the team which won third place explored the legal aspects of child abuse.
All the students received certificates of participation while the winning teams received trophies and certificates. Save the Children also negotiated with Yarl FM ( the Jaffna channel of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) to provide opportunities for these students to become relief announcers.
By: Menaca Calyaneratne-Director Member Service and Advocacy-Save the Children