Children’s rights at heart of Universal Children’s Day in Albania

This Universal Children’s Day, several children from World Vision’s Children in Crisis (CiC) - Life project, who live in one of the poorest areas of the Albanian capital Tirana joined with children from different NGOs and visited the Albanian Parliament to promote their rights.

We have thoughts and ideas that should be respectedInstead of politicians being front and centre, children were talking in front of the Parliament. They sounded just like ‘kids’, but their message was mature beyond their years and touched the hearts of people around them.

“We are children and we have rights,” said 17-year-old Rodolf, who is part of the Life project, in his speech to Parliament. “We have thoughts and ideas that should be respected.”

They also met with the Chairwoman of the Parliament of Albania; Jozefina Topalli, to share their important messages for this day, after which children organised a drama in the Parliament to show hope and love.

More activities followed in Tirana’s shopping centre where children publicly displayed their paintings about their rights, distributed Child\'s Rights Convents and other materials about their rights.

“It is the first time ever that I have celebrated Universal Children’s Day,” said 12-year-old Eva.

“Every child’s right is like a strong heartbeat,” said Rodolf. “Today I learned that children’s rights exist and are respected in many countries of the world.”

At the same time in the north of the country, children in World Vision’s Kurbin Area Development Programme (ADP) organised a concert with songs about children’s rights. Children from the Shkodra ADP, gathered together under the slogan “Children are equal and they should have equal rights.” The children also organised a programme with songs, and lively dances and they showed their paintings to express their rights in an artistic and child-friendly way.

“There are a lot of children whose rights are not respected,” claimed 14-year-old Selva Gjoka, at the Shkodra ADP activity. “They need our help and support so their rights will be respected.”

At the same time several activities were organized in Dibra ADP schools, where children prepared dramas to show the participants how to respect their rights. They also wrote stories and essays about their rights. Vlora ADP , in the south, together with Child Protection Peer Educators and Student Government organised a peaceful gathering in one of the villages of Vlora. The children marched with posters that they had written and painted about children’s rights. They also prepared a questionnaire for parents about child protection and parenting methods. Among several activities organised by the students of the different schools of Elbasan ADP, there was also a TV spot on Children’s Rights.

UNICEF, World Vision and other NGOs studies show that Physical violence in home and schools , still remains a big challenge. According to UNICEF one in two Albanian children experience physical violence at home and one in three at school. UNICEF also reports that 13.3% of children attending school experience sexual abuse.

one in two Albanian children experience physical violence at home and one in three at schoolThese voices from Albanian children, who advocated to be protected, educated, not abused, to be respected and valued are raising awareness among those who have the power to provide a better future for children.

“I want to be your advocate,” said the Chairwoman, Mrs. Topalli in her response to the children. “There is nothing worse than to see a child suffering.”

The children have one more reason to celebrate this day this year, because in the beginning of November a new law ‘For the Protection of the Rights of the Child’ was approved by the Albanian Parliament.

“This law is going to bring good changes for us,” said 13-year-old Kledisa. “It will protect us from abuse and from discrimination.”

“This is our day!” said 12-year-old Bukurije with the enthusiasm that characterised events across the country.