We want to know our rights and hear you

A seminar “We want to know our rights and hear you” was held at the State Agency for Child Protection on 21 September as part of the “Right of participation and voice” project, implemented with financial support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the line of the EEA Financial Mechanism from 1.09.2020. The State Agency for Child Protection supported the cause and kindly hosted the event.

The seminar aimed to increase our knowledge regarding the rights of the child and their application and whether there are differences in the understanding of professionals and children.

The forum was attended by the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Mrs. Nadia Klisurska- Jekova, who greeted the children and those present and shared her vision of the need for child participation and how important it is to hear others. Mrs. Eleonora Lilova – Chairperson of the State Agency for child protection(SACP) also welcomed the guests and stressed the meaning of the fruitful partnership of the SACP with Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria in all types of activities related to children and families.

Boryana Klimentova, Program Director of Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria, gave to Mrs. Klisurska-Jekova and Mrs. Lilova the statement prepared by the children, as well as expressed her gratitude for the opportunity for the children to be heard in the SACP. Then the seminar continued with the most important participants – the children.

The presenters Samuil and Elena greeted the participants and also expressed their gratitude to the SACP for the support. Then all the children, part of the project and the program for children’s participation at Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria shared what motivates them and makes them part of this cause. The presenters created conditions for a pleasant environment by asking those present to introduce themselves and tell a little about themselves. Then they invited Niya and Lydia to tell about the organization and the program for children’s participation and the children described what we have done so far – what meetings, what sessions, what activities and what this has brought us. They also shared their personal feelings from the two advocacy meetings with the two ministers – Labor and Social Policy and Health.

Christina presented her participation in the 13th European Consultative Forum for the Development of a European Strategy for the Child. She shared personal experiences and impressions. Elena and Lydia also presented their experience from their participation in the European Forum for the Development of a European Strategy for the Child and how this participation has further developed and enriched them. Christina also shared about the alternative report created by the children from the program and sent to the UN. This report was also distributed to those present. The finale of the seminar was the vision prepared by the children about how important it is for every child to live in a family environment and to be supported and loved. The children also received gifts from the SACP, and the participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the White Paper for the child – developed by the SACP and presented to all.

All present, specialists from SACP, Agency for social assistance, Ministry of labour and social policy, Regional educational inspectorate expressed their positive impression of the children, supported them to continue to follow their dreams, to develop in this direction, to promote children’s participation and also not to forget how meaningful and important to participate and have their voice heard when they become parents themselves. All participants received the book “The good helper of the child” in the framework of the project, design, ideas, text and photos – made by the children.

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