Lighting up a child's place to grow starts with respecting his rights! As 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of SOS Children's Villages work in Africa, SOS Children's Villages The Gambia invited more than a hundred friends, partners, co-workers and children to the launching of the "Light up my place to grow" campaign and the official inauguration of its "Rights of the Child" exhibition. The event, held on 11 February 2011 in the Kairaba Hotel, was full in colours, emotions and strong statements.
Cover of the exhibition booklet - Photo: Christian Lesske
Comprising pictures from the photographer Christian Lesske, children's drawing and poems from all over the North/West Africa region (Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia), the exhibition aims to sensitize people and children on the rights of the child and show how SOS Children's Villages contributed in respecting and promoting children's rights. A booklet and set of postcard were also produced in the frame of this exhibition.
The exhibition will be accessible to all and many schools have also been invited to view it in the coming weeks. During the course of the year, it will also travel to five other countries in Northwest Africa to sensitize even more people.
Almamy, a 20-year-old youth, did a great job in chairing the event. And so did the children from SOS Children's Village Bakoteh who performed a wonderful show, dancing and singing on a selection of songs that emphasized the rights of the child. From pop to reggae, to rap, to African rhythms, the message was clear: "Respect, protection and love, that's what we need!"
Children from SOS Children's Village Bakoteh are performing a colourful show - Photo: Christian Lesske
The event was a good opportunity for Ms Oumou Tall, director of SOS Children's Villages The Gambia, to emphasize on the work done by the organisation in The Gambia and reminds people what our mission, vision and values are. She also introduced and launched the 'Light up my place to grow' campaign, celebrating the 40 years of SOS Children's Villages work in Africa.
Several guest speakers took the floor in between the children's performances. All emphasized on the importance of children's rights and praising the good work done by SOS Children's Villages in Africa over the past 40 years. As Mrs Fanta Bai Secka, director of the Social Welfare Department, rightly said "Respect for children's right should not be an option!" She also seized this opportunity to thank SOS children's Villages and especially the SOS mothers for their tireless efforts and appealed to all for a "child friendly Gambia".
The exhibition featured art work and revealing statements from children - Photo: Christian Lesske
Before the official launching of the "Rights of the Child" exhibition, Mrs Jawara, representing the Minister of Justice, congratulated SOS Children's Villages The Gambia on behalf of the government for lighting up the place of many children to grow and offering them a fruitful childhood that would cater for the future of The Gambia.