Creative workshop on violence against children

Alliance for Peace, Education and Development Nepal (APED Nepal) organized a creative workshop on violence against children in coordination with Nepal Academy of Fine Art (NAFA), Balmandir, Naxal. The programme was organized on 2nd December to give joint message of DPAC and International Disabled Day (3rd December). The programme was held on premises of NAFA, Naxal. 28 children (6 deaf, 6 blind and 18 able bodied children) of Central Deaf Higher Secondary School, Namuna Macchindra Higher Secondary School and Brihaspati Vidyasadan Higher Secondary School participated in the programme. The objective of the programme was to facilitate a dialogue between religious leaders and children, particularly children with disability. The progamme also aimed develop friendship and understanding between children with disability and non-disabled children. The programme started at 11 am in the morning. Children arrived in the Chandraman Singh Memorial Hall of NAFA and were very enthusiastic about the programme. Starting the first session, Ms. Neeti Aryal Khanal, secretary of APED Nepal discussed the brief overview of the programme. Mr. Krishna P. Subedi from Child Protection Unit, UNICEF started the session with discussion on violence against children. The children found his presentation very interesting and easy to understand. He had used relevant pictures to discuss the idea about protection of child right. At the end of presentation, he discussed three ways to prevent violence against children: aware, unite and struggle. During the presentation, Mr. Subedi also engaged children in discussion to draw on the participating children's views and experiences. Then, Mr. Rabin Kumar Koirala, Council Member of NAFA and also an art facilitator asked children to express their thoughts in any way they like it. He also discussed the seating arrangement and plan made for both art and poem group. Similarly, Ms. Manisha Gauchan, Secretary of Sakshyam Nepal and also a famous poet and writer recited her poem and asked children to express their thoughts on the subject matter without any hesitation. The second session was for the creative activity itself. Considering the winter season, it was arranged for children to have their creative activity on warm and sunny roof of NAFA. Children were seated in chairs and table was provided for them to write poems and create artwork. However, children who were interested in poem preferred to move far ahead in secluded area in search of solitude to create poems. Blind students sat down with their Braille and stylus and created a poem working in a group. Later, their teachers Ms. Bindiya Shrestha and Sharmila Ghimire translated the poem in Nepali text. An excerpt of poem created by these students in Nepali is as follows: We the children Are the buds of today And flowers of tomorrow Do not commit mistake denying us our rights It is our right to be able to read and write All should be responsible To ensure our right Listen all friends No one should commit Violence against children We should make everyone aware About violence against children (Note: this is very simple translation of poem written in Nepali) It was interesting to see that one of the low vision children wanted to paint. His dedication and interest in painting inspired other children and adults present in the programme. All deaf students wished to create artwork, thus they worked in different groups along with other children from Brihaspati Bidya Sadan. Both facilitators Mr. Rabin Kumar Koirala and Ms. Manisha Gauchan let children work at their own pace according to their interested. They were readily available for any support if any children needed their help. Many of the religious leaders had already arrived during the time children were creating artwork. Religious leaders enjoyed observing children at work and interacted with some of the children during tea break. Mr. Lauri Robertson (Bahaii), Guru Ajitbabu Gautam (Hindu), Mr. Shishir Khanal ( Chairperson of Sarvodaya Nepal) were present during this time. After working hard for nearly one and half hour, children were tired and hungry. They enjoyed healthy snacks along with tea. The third session of the programme was a short formal programme. The programme started when 4 year old child singer Atithi Gautam KC lighted a lamp with support of Pastor B.P. Khanal. Then, she sang a peace prayer. Participating children enjoyed listening to her. Mr. Dadhiram Khanal, Chairperson of APED Then, Religious leaders Mr. Naman Upadhayaya (Jain), Gyani Guru Baksh Sing ( Sikh), Pastor B.P. Khanal (Christian) spoke on importance of child in each of their respective religion. All religious leaders appreciated their hard work and encouraged them to cultivate their skills further. Mr. Kiran Manandhar, chair of the session together with religious leaders distributed the appreciation certificate to children. The programme ended with remarks of Mr. Kiran Manandhar, Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Fine Arts.