By Katie Hackett
In the wake of the Ebola crisis, many people—especially children—are still coming to terms with the events that unfolded.
Schools were closed for nine months, relatives and neighbours were lost, children weren’t allowed to play with their friends, and an especially upsetting outcome—it’s been found that sexual abuse of children across the country increased during the crisis and following it.
World Vision recently collaborated with another local organization to hold a youth camp. The goal was giving children a chance to have fun, heal and learn following the trauma they experienced during the epidemic.
They participated in activities like singing, sports and life lessons. Teaching about child protection issues was a major theme for discussion.
At the closing of the three-day camp, all 180 children joined in a Child Rights March. They paraded through the streets holding signs with advocacy messages like, “Say no to child neglect,” “Stop child labour” and “We are girls, not mothers.”
This procession showed their desire to stop to harmful practices affecting their well-being, but it also gave them confidence and an authoritative voice to express their concerns in the future.
“I learned a lot,” said Aminata, 16. “Now that I know how to advocate for my rights, I will use all that I have learned in this camp to correct some of the bad things happening in my community—especially abuse of children.”
“It is my responsibility as a child to teach my colleagues in school, brothers and sisters at home and my friends,’’ added Issa, 17.
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