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Drawing event hones street talents
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 03 - 03 - 2010

THE sun, a red flower, Egypt's flag, and a very simple sentence, reading "It's my right to be a child" over a small white wooden board, were all that Mahmoud drew.
Mahmoud is one of many children who live in this country's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that support street children.
The ten-year-old boy drew this painting and presented it to mark the National Day of Street Children, held last week at the cultural park of Sayyeda Zeinab, south of Cairo.
"I'm so happy with the day," Mahmoud said. "I do lots of things I like," he added in an interview.
The National Day of Street Children aims to advocate the right of street children to lead normal and dignified lives.
The festival's organisers say these children have the right to eat, play, get education, get healthcare and live in the warmth of a family.
Around 70 civil agencies participated in the event. One of them was Alwan Masriya (Egyptian colours), which does charity through art.
"This is my first time to hold a pencil and draw," said one of the children who took part in the event.
The festival was an occasion for local NGOs to present street children with the
chance to do several activities. They were
able to draw, act, play music, paint and colour their faces.s
"Art refines the human behaviour," said Souad Bayoumy, the chief Alwan Masriya.
"So we try to make their eyes differentiate between beauty and ugliness," she added.
Two hours before the event came to an end, a press conference was held. The conference, titled ‘Street children are society's responsibility' aimed to bring to the attention of the media the targets the 70 agencies that took part in the festival agreed to achieve.
They agreed to pressure the institutions of society to recognise their responsibility towards street children.
They also called for changing persistent social perceptions about street children as criminals. They said these children must be
viewed as victims.
They called on the Government to designating February 23 as a National Day for Street Children every year.
"This day is a real test for the joint work among civil society organisations," said Mohamed Abdel-Gelil, a social activist. "It's actually one of the targets we aim to achieve to serve the cause of these children," he added.

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