Universal Children’s Day in Albania focuses on child rights

“Today, on Universal Children’s Day we saw more unity and understanding between children from different areas in Albania. Their messages were the same; stop child labour, stop violence, more education, more equity and equality”, said Enkeleda Lopari, Operations Director of World Vision Albania.

She added, “The messages tell us that we need to do more to support their ideals for better lives and for more happiness in the hearts”.

Their messages were the same; stop child labour, stop violence, more education, more equity and equality Celebrations kicked off in a school of Novosela commune in Vlora ADP on Thursday 17 November with Roma students giving a performance in front of their peers. Children from the audience joined their Roma friends to recite songs and poems.

Roma children are considered a minority in Albania. They are often the objects of social discrimination and economic disadvantage, which contributes to their high degree of absenteeism in public schools.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many Roma children are forced to beg in the street, denying them the opportunity to attend school.

“Among Roma, the trafficking of children is more common than among Albanians, since Roma suffer from higher rates of poverty and unemployment”, said the World Bank report on Roma and Egyptians in Albania.

Among Roma, the trafficking of children is more common than among Albanians, since Roma suffer from higher rates of poverty and unemployment World Vision Albania is implementing a project in Vlora and two Elbasan ADPs to integrate Roma children and children of Egyptian ethnicity into the community and provide them with basic and vocational education. The project seeks to enhance the likelihood of employment, combat exclusion from Albanian society, and to reduce the prevalence of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation and victimisation.

Activities continued in Elbasan and Lezha ADPs primary schools and cultural centres, with head of the student government in an Elbasan school, 14-year-old Silvana Korca, opening the event followed by the recitation of children’s rights.

Elementary students performed a skit with the theme “different but equal”, using red, green and yellow apples to convey the message that despite their different colours they are all apples.

“The main concern of our community is not discrimination against the Egyptian ethnic children but to assure and inform the Egyptian community that their children are welcome and will be treated fairly in this school”, said 55-year-old Musa Barolli, School Director at Osman Toci.

At Kolsh primary school in Lezha, a drawing exhibition was held with the theme "Getting to know children\'s rights".

“The Universal Children’s Day is a wonderful activity and we must organise this event again in the future”, said eighth grader Ferdinand Voka, who won the first-prize in the drawing exhibition.

Children have the right to be educated and to also have their parents close to them and to not live apart Universal Children’s day activities came to an official close in the National Museum of Albania in Tirana on Monday 21 November with an exhibition of children’s drawings organised by World Vision Albania, Children\'s Human Rights Centre of Albania (CRCA) and the Information and Research Center for Children’s Rights of Albania (IRCCRA).

A large canvas with children’s drawings and poems from students in Bradashesh commune; hung at the entrance of the gallery.

“Today is a good day for children to express their desires. Children have the right to be educated and to also have their parents close to them and to not live apart”, said 14-year-old Silvana Korca, from Badrashesh commune, Elbasan.

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