Editor's note: Universal Children's Day 2016 will be celebrated on 20th November and focuses on the rights of children all over the world. This month we are pleased to share the personal insight of Laura Pierre-Escayg, a singer, dedicated mother of three, and co-founder of Cause an Effect. Cause an Effect is a for-purpose, cause-related media and content creation company focused on highlighting the needs of adults and children with disabilities.
Imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to be unable to express everything you feel verbally. Imagine that a million thoughts are running through your mind which you desperately want to and need to express. But, each time you open your mouth, all that ventures out is a muffled sound. The frustration would be enough to drive you insane. This is what life is like for many children with special needs and this is why I see my experience as a call to service.
"Five years ago I was unable to read and spell. Because of that situation, I was unable to fulfil my dream. I got a job as a production manager. My shift was the most productive shift, but because I was unable to read and spell, I had problems functioning on the job. I decided to go to adult classes...and I now understand what it takes to read and spell. I plan to preach throughout the world so I must continue to improve to fulfil this dream. The teachers in the ALTA class are excellent; they are wonderful and patient with us and give up their time, showing that they have our interest at heart. They challenge us to improve."
George, ALTA student, 2016
A common question parents ask is: "When can my child begin to watch TV?"
"Not until two years of age. And still, be careful at that age."
Television has a tremendous influence on how children view our world. Many youngsters spend more time watching television than they do in the classroom. It often begins a few months after birth. In the Caribbean, the TV always seems to be on. And loudly. Babies are fascinated by the flickering pictures and hilarious sounds coming out of the box in the corner. Parents quickly learn that the TV keeps their child quiet. It also keeps them dazed and ‘dotish’*.
Worldwide there has been significant movement toward the democratisation of childhood. This has led to increasing recognition of the rights of children, more attention to child maltreatment, and to stepped-up attempts to arrest the lost developmental potential of children due to difficult social and economic circumstances. At the same time, several societies (e.g. Sweden) have taken the bold step of implementing legislation against the use of physical punishment and the humiliation of children. Depending on economic resources and political and social will, efforts at protecting the rights of children have met with varying degrees of success across the world.
Caribbean development and innovation demands creative thinking in order to chart the course forward towards developing solutions for the region, and imagining the best future for ourselves. The 2 Cents Movement rose out of the passionate desire to nurture this kind of creativity as an approach to nation building through youth development and social change. We believe strongly in the use of applied art, and employ spoken word poetry as a means of creating meaningful dialogue, enhancing literacy, sharing ideas, and positively impacting young people.