Time is never wasted when it is given to a child to express him/herself
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“The Children’s Forum of Hope” of the Great Lakes region was officially launched on Saturday 31 May 2014 at the meeting room of the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika in Bujumbura, Burundi. His Excellency Mr. Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi gave an opening speech for this occasion.
The previous day, on Friday May 30th, we were given kits that would be useful to us throughout the forum and had a presentation from each participant in order to get better acquainted.
The forum included fifteen children from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as very high-profiled people. HE Mrs Special Envoy of UNSG, HE Mr V-Pres. of Burundi, HE Mrs Minister of Gender and Solidarity of Burundi.
The first speaker was the Minister of Gender and Solidarity of Burundi who thanked UNICEF for its staunch support for the success of this forum. The Minister also congratulated the children present for having been chosen by their countries to take part in this forum.
The Executive Secretary of the ICGLR exposed the consequences of war that affect children’s rights.
The United Nations Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa stated that children are the main victims of wars within the region and she encouraged us to actively participate in the success of this forum.
Thereafter and with the public’s praise, the Vice-President of Burundi declared open the works of the forum of hope.
Having thus taken a family picture, we made our way towards the conference room for the beginning of the works.
The Groups’ Tasks
The works consisted of each country reading out its Declaration of Peace and presenting its postcard to the forum. Romance and I, Deo Kusanika, did these tasks for the DRC. We drew out the common problems that affect children’s rights in all of these declarations to help the delegates write a more efficient declaration for the whole region. The other groups’ tasks consisted of creating a video about children and creating artworks. In the evening, children from each country expressed themselves through dance, music and cultures in what was called a Talent Show, which marked the end of the first day of the group tasks.
The Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika welcomed us back for a second day of works on Sunday 1st June. The day was long but interesting because we got to talk to Her Excellency Mrs Robinson about matters such as the restoration of peace and the sharing of experiences.
The young ambassadors gave their all to obtain three major elements:- The regional declaration of children- The artworks- The video
We voted for four ambassadors who will represent the region as well as present the works of this session to the Presidents at their reunion in Nairobi in July 2014. The elected ambassadors are:- Deo Kusanika, child of the Democratic Republic of Congo (myself)- Hamro Oussamah Abdallah, of Sudan- Léonce of Rwanda- Fadia Mutesi of Burundi
In concluding this chapter, Her Excellency the Minister of Gender and Solidarity of Burundi announced the closing of the works of the forum of hope.
Therefore, we thank her for all that has been done to enable the Children’s Forum of Hope to succeed.Article published on www.ponabana.com and written by Deo:
Déo is 16 years old and is a student at KIVUVU High School in Bandundu. He adores football and mathematics. In the future he would like to be a professor, lecturing in mathematics to students at university. For him, being a child reporter gives him an opportunity to advocate on the different problems of abuse that other children are subjected to.
Discover more about the Children’s Forum of Hope on:
The blog specially created for the Forum of Hope in Bujumbura: Tumblr
All pictures from the Forum are now on Flickr!
Slideshow: Photos UNICEF RDC 2014 Kelvin Batumike
Cover Photo: UNICEF RDC 2014 Adrien Majourel
Translated from French by Ahou Koutchesfahani.