Madam Chandrika Bandaranayake, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Executive Director ECPAT International Dorothy Rozga, Chairman PEACE ECPAT Mr. Mahuruf and team.
All friends of children gathered here. I dedicate this honor and even these moments to our children.
Children are very special to me and to all of us gathered here today to celebrate the Universal Children’s Day. When I say children are special, we have to remind ourselves that we are also special, as we have been children and our inner child within us is always alert. Sometimes we do forget that and become the know all adult. Children are pushed and forced to follow the adults, “for their own good” we say, we forget that children come into their world with their unique life to grow up and find their very own destiny.
There is a globally accepted meaningful mediational learning process on how to follow children in a positive way to listen and respond in an appropriate manner, it is a very down to earth simple relating methodology.
Over the years of my experience in being with children in schools, preschools at village level used the mediational methodology this worked in some ways. Some years ago I was with Snehatheepam a children’s home set up for children specially child victims sent from the Juvenile courts it is now run by the probation under another name. Working with Street kids, and meeting children in their homes even in far away areas, children who are special in many ways, those hurt and tortured physically and sexually. Those who get caught in various acts and are mentally and emotionally traumatized and deeply hurt. The list goes on I wonder where is our pearl drop of the Indian Ocean? Now it is the tear drop of pain, deep hurt and wounds of our innocent children.
There are some dedicated persons trying to care and do something for them but when we look deeper into the situation it is a very rough and difficult path to venture. Justice takes its process on its long route. Support systems are few with their own strategies and sometimes by the time it reaches them, children feel alone, left out get a feeling of falling into another sea of suffering, the small benefits gets lost in the waves of pain that hits them hard in multiple ways. In the midst of all this I have found the power of resilience very high in children.
Many of us have faced pain and difficulties on our way up our developmental ladder. Resilience is defined as a universal capacity which allows a person or groups to prevent, minimize, or overcome the damaging effects of adversity. Those working with children on this level of complex needs try to turn a set of concepts into practical tools that can be incorporated into everyday work projects.
Really it’s the adult world that inhibits the development of resilience leaving children feeling helpless, sad or unloved. Parents and all adults should know how to promote this in born power along with values that give meaning to life. We know we get values through society as a result of interaction with environment from home, school through education, culture, religion and life experience. Values are valuable as far as they help us attain our highest value towards total wellbeing bringing happiness. Values affect us when strongly mixed up with emotions like racial, religious or even political values.
With my experience during the war situation some survived the metal and emotional trauma, they were the stronger group that got over that pain some children then, are adults now they are still going through difficulties. The adult world –gives mixed messages or do not know how to promote this resilience. All of us who live and work with children have to examine our own work with new eyes and incorporate aspects that we find relevant with our work not only with children but their families too and draw up practical guide lines.
Children of today are very smart and modern they move faster than accelerated speed. Now they need understanding, mature and balanced good persons as example or models to follow.
Some words from Gitanjali
By Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action into that haven of freedom
My father let my country awake!