Children Festival 2022 – ‘Les zanfan reste zanfan’ |28 May 2022
Full roster of activities for the second festival
Following disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Council for Children is now ready to bring back the spirit of getting together, making new friends, and learning from each other through its second Children Festival which will be spread over the whole June.
This year’s event – under the theme ‘Les zanfan reste zanfan’ – will focus around three main United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) articles, setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.
They are Article 13 –The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice;
Article 19 – Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child; and Article 31 which creates a specific right for all children to have rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to their age and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
This year’s activity, which will be officially launched on June 1 at the Bel Eau primary school, will be spread over Mahé, Praslin and La Digue with the aim of maximising the involvement of children, with the involvement of a variety of partners rallying behind the cause.
In a press conference held yesterday at the NCC headquarters at Bel Eau, the council’s chief executive Yasmin Umarji, along with other partners, gave an overview of the calendar of events which will accommodate children of all ages.
Other than the official launch, June 1 will also host a fun day for toddlers, precisely those at kindergarten, or childminding institutions at the Bel Eau NCC headquarters, again with the aim of maximising participation, and involving children of all ages.
The Seychelles Creole Academy will be hosting two activities during the festival, precisely a story-telling session for children from the primary schools, while those from the secondary schools will engage in a public speaking contest.
A first for Seychelles during the festival will be children arguing a court case in a mock trial, in an activity which will be hosted by the Attorney General’s office.
The Mock Trial programme allows students to take a hands-on learning approaches to all aspects of a court case, thus introducing children to the who, what, where, when and why of the law which can foster a lifelong appreciation for the legal justice system.
The Seychelles, precisely through its Child Protection Unit, in collaboration with the Mont Fleuri police station is also onboard, precisely through a bullying awareness presentation for both children and parents, on how to prevent and act against bullying among children.
Another partner in this year’s festival is Pastoral Zanfan, a body under the umbrella of the Catholic Diocese which is organising a sports day, with the prime aim of encouraging children to make new friends unconditionally.
The activity will also help the children to boost their spiritual growth, thus inspire them to live a better, healthier and more appropriate life, treating others with respect.
The Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports in partnership with the department of Environment will be hosting a coconut tree planting activity, while the department of Culture will be promoting Moutya among the children through various activities, including workshops on how to write songs, play the drum and dance Moutya the proper way.
The Ministry of Education on its part will be re-introducing the Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA) clubs in schools, providing opportunities for students to discover their talents and abilities, and to enable students to create and innovate, while also encouraging students to explore and develop their personalities, creativity and skills.
A variety show which will be entirely hosted and directed by the children themselves will be the contribution of the Local Government department.
The show will allow children to showcase their artistic talents, while also displaying other relevant skills involved in production and stage management.
Mrs Umarji explained that during all the activities, children will remain at the centre.
She thanked all partners for their continuous support in catering for the need and welfare of the children, and also invited others to come forward and lend a hand towards the cause.
The NCC was established in 1980, and is a non-profitable government organisation with the mandate to promote and safeguard the welfare and rights of the children of Seychelles as laid down in the UNCRC, which has been ratified by the government of Seychelles.
The council is politically independent and sits under the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports. Its day-to-day work is undertaken by its secretariat which currently consists of 16 employees working at the main office and 31 employees working at the President’s Village.
One of its primary functions is to advise the government and professionals working with children on matters relating to children and their families and ensure they take into consideration the rights enshrined in the UNCRC.
It actively protects children through the provision of a well-established and highly valued psychological and counselling therapeutic service and the provision of training on parenting and the rights of the child.
It is to note that in September 2018, the President’s Village, a residential Children Care Home – which provides a place of sanctuary for children who have suffered neglect or other types of abuse or who have lost their parents – was transferred from the Children’s Foundation to the NCC.