Every Last Child Campaign; Save the Children in Sri Lanka conducts an Advocacy Forum focusing issues faced by children of migrated parents

Thursday 22 December 2016

Save the Children on 16th of December conducted an “Advocacy Forum” focusing on the impact of parental migration on children. The Advocacy Forum is an initial kick off of a three year campaign called “Every Last Child”, conducted globally with the aim to catalyze positive change for millions of excluded children.

The Every Last Child Campaign in Sri Lanka focusses on children whose parents have migrated abroad to find work. Our studies have highlighted that these children face major issues in terms of protection, education, and nutrition, health care and social development.

The objective of the Advocacy Forum was to acquire inputs for the campaign action plan in 2017/18 through the participation of children and other stakeholders. The goal of the campaign in Sri Lanka is that children of migrated parents will have equal access to care, protection and education in an inclusive and safe environment.

Children representing Child Advocacy Team of the campaign presenting the findings of a consultation

In the Advocacy Forum four children shared their ideas and views of the impact of parental migration. “Once our mother has travelled we miss her love and care. We don’t have anyone to share our feelings. Sometimes we get very busy with household work and then it becomes difficult for us to do studies, since some fathers are not ready to listen to us. Often we have to take up additional responsibilities at home. We also sometimes face an unsafe situation due the fact that there is no one at home to look after us.” mentioned a child in the session.

Mr. Chris McIvor, Country Director of Save the Children in Sri Lanka welcoming the guests while explaining the objective of the Advocacy Forum

The children presented their ideas based on a consultation conducted with the participation of 150 children in different locations. Mr. Chris McIvor, Country Director of Save the Children Sri Lanka mentioned in his speech “As an organization Save the Children takes very seriously the importance of child participation. The persons most able to tell us about the impact of not having their mothers and fathers around for many years are children themselves. That is why we have focused in recent months on collecting and gathering children’s voices from a variety of different locations to ensure that our information is accurate, comprehensive and relevant. One of the purposes of this meeting today is to have children themselves share some of their observations around this phenomenon, and to reinforce the point that any solutions that are proposed should have the endorsement and buy in of the very group that is most affected”

Ms. Chandrani Senaratne, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development delivering a speech.

Ms. Chandrani Senaratne, The Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs addressed the event highlighting the importance of care and protection of children of migrated parents. She stated “the children of migrant parents- especially when the mother leaves home for a significant amount of time- face real problems regarding health, well-being and protection” She stressed that although many of these issues get reported, there are countless amounts of incidences and issues which are not reported due to lack of awareness. She stated that the Ministries of Health, Education and also the Ministry of Labor and the Bureau of Foreign Employment are now trying to address the situation.

The technical discussion among the representatives from Ministry of Foreign Employment, Ministry of Education, UNICEF, Save the Children, an independent human rights, child rights and development consultant and four children representing the Child Advocacy Team of the campaign.

A technical discussion was conducted with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Employment, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, Save the Children, an independent human rights, child rights and development consultant and four children representing the Child Advocacy Team of the campaign. During the discussion the participants at the event representing civil society organizations, children and parents directed questions to the panel highlighting gaps in the services.