North Korea says it tested rail-launched ballistic missiles    US threatens sanctions against officials in Tigray conflict    Egypt's Trezeguet to continue missing games till the end of the year: Aston Villa coach    Pakistan, Iran leaders meet on Afghanistan    New government in Lebanon renews central bank audit    Egypt warms up for Libya clash with a friendly game against Liberia on 30 September    Central Bank of Egypt leaves interest rates on hold    Sisi discusses GERD, regional developments with the King of Bahrain    EU calls for urgent reform of WTO    Egypt's stocks end this week in mixed notes as benchmark EGX 30 falls 1.37%    Global institution leaders discuss with vaccines manufacturers accelerating production, distribution    Egypt received plan from DR Congo to resume AU-sponsored GERD talks: FM Shoukry    Remittances from Egyptians abroad grow 13.2% in FY2020/21– central bank    Egypt's Dabaa nuclear plant: contribution to social and economic development    Cote d'Ivoire's Haller scores 4 goals as Ajax routs Sporting Lisbon in CL    Cairo welcomes UNSC presidential statement on GERD    Egypt's PM attends signing of ministerial agreement to implement WB-funded project to reduce air pollution in Greater Cairo    Egypt records highest daily rise of coronavirus cases since mid-June    The Egyptian Mawlawiya troupe's concert at Al-Gumhouriya Theatre is a must go    Don't miss the AUC's webinar on Human Rights and the Built Environment Lifecycle    Borhane Alaouié (1941-2021): The auteur's shadow    Jordan hosts energy meeting today to discuss transporting Egyptian gas to Lebanon    Russia permits airlines to resume flights from 49 cities to Egypt    Egypt's Abu Soma Development partners with KOMPASS Education    Sisi: coronavirus vaccines in Africa 'far less' than actual needs    Egypt gives emergency use approval for locally manufactured Sinovac/VACSERA COVID-19 vaccine    Egypt makes COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all those aged over 18 in education sector    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    Egypt denounces Ethiopia's move to start second filling of giant dam    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







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‘The right to play safely'
Published in Ahram Online on 27 - 11 - 2019

“Egypt ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] soon after its adoption. The convention is only a first step and, since then, Egypt has shown the world how to make these rights concrete and real,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Egypt, at the start of his speech marking 30 years of child rights.
“Our children need guidance, quality education, sports and care. No to physical abuse and violence that destroy and damage all their motivation towards the future,” Tarek Kandil, board member of Al-Ahly Sporting Club where the anniversary event was held, told guests.
According to the website of the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood, Egypt was among the first 20 countries to ratify the CRC which subsequently became the most ratified convention in the history of international legislation. Egypt was also one of the six countries that called for a World Summit for Children to be convened in 1990.
“It is the right of every child to play safely and not to suffer from bullying”, Ayatallah Samir, 10 years old, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
Samir says that at school other pupils used to make fun of her dark colour skin.
“At first I used to feel sad and upset then I joined the campaign organised by UNICEF and learned that, with self-confidence and courage, it is possible to stop bullying.”
Asmaa, the 29-year-old mother of one of the children at the ceremony, said that her daughter had been bullied when she first attended a new school but her teacher had intervened and changed the situation.
For Syrian refugees in Egypt children's rights can have a different meaning. Samir Said, 14 years old, says that having fled violence at home “the right to feel safe and secure is most important.”
For 11-year-old Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Meguid, education is among the most basic rights. “When I left Syria I was unable to enrol in school though in Egypt I feel safe,” he told the Weekly.
Nesmahar Sayed speaks with Bruno Maes, UNICEF's representative in Egypt
Walaa Al-Daqaq, manager of Dar Al-Tafawoq Al-Taalimy, a Syrian centre that offers classes for Syrian children at reasonable rates, says that having fled violence at home children faced a complex of problems. Often their families' finances were precarious, meaning children could be deprived of entertainment, education and even food.
“When children face the kind of hardships that come with being a refugee their behaviour can be affected negatively. One has to understand that many of these children have lost a great deal including, in some cases, their parents or other family members.”
Al-Daqaq says that while “nothing can compensate for the insecurity that comes with losing your homeland” she believes that UNICEF should be doing more to help Syrian children.
Maes, who has been in Cairo since September 2015, says that “over the next 30 years we must take tangible steps towards realising the rights of every child in Egypt.
“In the earliest years of life we must scale up childhood development programmes, including nutrition and protection.”
The Egyptian government has undertaken ambitious and courageous socio-economic reforms in the last few years in which context its efforts to develop social protection programmes have been very important, says Maes. Takafol and Karama, the means-tested cash transfer programmes, help children by ensuring mothers visit health centres and children attend school.
In an interview with the Weekly, Maes highlighted the importance of efforts to reform the education system to ensure children have the skills necessary to join the job market, and said that substantial investment in childhood development programmes was necessary given Egypt's 2.5 million annual birth rate.
Egypt still suffers cases of chronic malnutrition while at the other end of the scale 15 per cent of children below five suffer from obesity. While improved health and nutrition services clearly have a role to play in addressing these problems, parents too need to be informed about best practices when it comes to nutrition for their own children.
Maes pointed out that breastfeeding remains very low in Egypt. “We are working with the government to ensure positive parenting programmes are accessible to all future parents and social media is an important tool in getting information to young parents,” he said.
Another issue that needs to be addressed, he said, is violence against children, a behavioural pattern that will take years to eradicate from homes and schools.
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*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 November, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.


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