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‘Expresarte’ - A Child-led Approach to Tackling Poverty in Peru

Worried by the socio-economic impacts the COVID-19 pandemic was having on vulnerable children, four Peruvian children from the group ‘Expresarte’ longed to support their peers from at-risk backgrounds. They brainstormed on different solutions and finally came up with a combined approach to support education and reduce poverty. The project idea came directly from their own realities and from what they had witnessed during the pandemic.

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Bridging the Education Gap in India: for Children – by Children

The Children’s Parliament in India engaged more than 300 children from nine villages in discussions to brainstorm what could be done to address issues related to education, health care and livelihoods. It was the mass school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that motivated the children to decide on solutions to support access to education. As a result of the school closures and education suddenly shifting to digital spaces, the children had discovered that most public-school students in the villages could not afford digital gadgets and access to the internet to continue attending classes online. This left them out of education and the school environment to the point that younger children even started forgetting the basics of the alphabet and numbers.

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Child and Youth Participation in the GNRC Fifth Forum

From 6 to 8 May 2017, 64 children and youth from 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, gathered in Panama City to learn from one another and to get prepared for an active participation in the discussions, working groups and plenary sessions of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) Fifth Forum. Arigatou International Geneva was commissioned to plan, organize and run the Pre-Meeting, support the consultations with children that took place before the event in several countries, and the activities that will follow after the Forum.

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Consultative Meeting in Lausanne, for the Multi-Religious Study on the Contributions of Religious Communities to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

On November 20, 2019, the international community will mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC30), the most comprehensive treaty on the rights of children which has been ratified by virtually all UN Members States.

The enormous success of the CRC has resulted in numerous laws being enacted including national constitutions, and policies, programs, and budgets being adopted that benefit children. It has also spurred notable achievements in health, education and child protection all of which have improved the lives of all children in many parts of the world.

For this occasion, Arigatou International, in close collaboration with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG) has initiated a Study from a multi-religious perspective with experts on child rights, religious leaders and scholars that includes a review of the CRC since its adoption. The Study is also being developed in collaboration with UNICEF and other key partners.

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Creating Spaces for Children to Reflect about Ethical Issues during the Pandemic

Arigatou International Geneva was invited to facilitate an online workshop for children from Indonesia on “Peace, diversity and solidarity during the pandemic.” The workshop was held on 10 February 2021 and was organized by educators belonging to the UNESCO Associated School Project Network (ASPnet) and several other partners.

The webinar aimed to help children become more aware of how they can respond to the social reality of the pandemic by focusing on peace, appreciation of diversity and fostering a sense of solidarity. Children took an active role in the organization and coordination of this webinar. They led the ice breakers and supported the facilitation of the session.

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Don’t Marry them – Educate them

“Saada and Suleina are sisters living in a community where child marriages are still practiced. The two sisters are school-going teenagers but their parents decide to marry them off, in line with the community’s customs. The marriage plans and procedures are concluded, making Saada and Suleina wives to two men in the community. But that did not last long for Saada, thanks to her relentless will to be educated. She boldly defies her parents and the community, walking away from her marriage to pursue her education. She secures a scholarship guaranteeing her to continue her education away from her home. All this time, Saada has tried convincing her sister Suleina to follow suit but she declines, citing her adherence to community norms.

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Effective Interfaith Education for Social Cohesion

Effective interfaith teaching can contribute to the overall quality of educational programs, particularly advancing goals for social cohesion and common understandings of civic values well-rooted in local history and culture. The ideal is to foster and deepen the lasting formation of civic values and knowledge and relationships that can sustain lifelong learning and communication across social differences.

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Fostering Resilience in Children on the Move

"We have to keep in mind that children on the move are first and foremost children and their rights move with them!" Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children

A webinar series on Resilience and Children on the Move, took place from September to November 2021, gathering more than 350 participants in three sessions. Throughout the sessions, participants shared experiences and best practices to support, protect and nurture the physical, socio-emotional, and spiritual well-being of children on the move.

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GNRC Youth Committee – Action and Commitment in Times of COVID-19

The GNRC Youth Committee has taken an active role in promoting the rights of the child around the world. Since April 2020, when they started their involvement in Arigatou International, they have participated in a wide array of workshops, meetings, and dialogues all while facing their own obstacles imposed on them by the COVID-19.

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Helping Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect during the Covid-19 Pandemic

As the current pandemic impacts the well-being and development of children, Arigatou International, together with the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, ISPCAN, organized a webinar on The Emotional and Spiritual Impact of COVID-19 on Children: Faith and Spiritual Nourishment as Key Factors for the Protection and Resilience of Children.

This webinar, which was held on 23 April 2020, was attended by 370 participants from 71 countries, and it is part of a series of weekly sessions organized by ISPCAN to support professionals that work toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

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Ideas flow when people talk

"Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking and its greatest failures by not talking.
It doesn’t have to be the future. With technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."
Stephen Hawking

Investing time in building relationships with children:

My mind runs back to a conversation I had with my adorable 7-year-old nephew Aditya Aram over Christmas 2017. We had just returned from a field visit. As we got off the car, he asked ‘Bua - who is the boss at Shanti Ashram?’ The word ‘Boss’ bothered me. Within a fraction of a second, it made me reflect as to what leadership example I was presenting to him. Even as I managed to answer this question, his second question quickly followed, ‘When you die - who will lead?’ To this, I said very honestly, that I had not started thinking about it, but I was sure that someone good and able would be ready to lead. Throughout the conversation, he was engaged, curious and patient and it seemed that just having the space to ask questions and to be in the conversation were important first steps for him. In the week preceding this particular conversation, we had often walked to my office and participated in programmes together. He got to see my work first hand at the International Center for Child & Public Health. For me too, just sharing my daily work & life with him was enriching....and I have come to look forward to my conversations with Aditya. My work with children over the past 20 years has given me the rare privilege of meeting children from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. Interactions with them have often been purposeful, open and constant and it has surely helped me evolve into who I have become.

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INSPIREd Faith Communities in Brazil – Fifth Roundtable on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence

The last of a series of Roundtable Discussions on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence was held in Brasilia on 24 June 2019, and brought together more than 70 participants from several religious communities, experts on early childhood and child protection coming from civil society and faith-based organizations, as well as government representatives.

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INSPIREd Faith Communities in India: Second Roundtable Discussion on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence

“All of us know what has gone wrong and all of us know what needs to be done to end violence against children, but the question is do we have the courage to do something about it?”

With these words, Dr. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, Chairman of Bharativa Vidva Bhavan, launched the National Roundtable Discussion on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence that took place on 11 – 12 April 2019 in Coimbatore, India.

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Nurturing Spirituality in Children - Online course

The Arigatou International’s Ethics Education Initiative launched on 25 February an online course on Nurturing Spirituality in Children. The course is part of a series of online courses to complete the Advanced Training Accreditation of the Learning to Live Together Programme. 

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The New Learning to Live Together Manual for Children Ages 6 to 11 is Available!

Nurturing ethical values and children’s spiritual development can make a difference in the lives of children, their families, and their communities. With this in mind and responding to the needs of our partners in the field, Arigatou International – Geneva adapted its Learning to Live Together program for the middle childhood years. After a two-year-long process, the adaptation of the program was launched on 23 November 2021, during the Transforming Education Symposium.

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Toolkit for Nurturing Spirituality in Children - Contributing to Children’s Holistic Development and Well-being

The International Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence is developing a toolkit on the spiritual development of children in the early yearsto foster their well-being and help prevent violence in child upbringing. The toolkit seeks to provide faith-based actors with concrete guidance, tools and examples about how to work with faith communities to nurture the spiritual development of children as well as to contribute to the prevention of violence in early childhood. The ultimate goal of this toolkit is to contribute to children’s holistic development and well-being.

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