Adolescents urge addressing children issues during pandemic
Published : 09 Sep 2021, 13:13
Adolescents at a dialogue have called for paying due attention to unprivileged children and resolving their problems like access to health services, quality education, justice and protection amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
They raised the issues at a dialogue organised by 'Sobujer Sopnojoy' (Chasing Dreams by the Evergreens) with assistance of UNICEF and Rangpur City Corporation at the City Bhaban here on Wednesday.
'Sobujer Sopnojoy', a Rangpur-based social media platform, where adolescents from different districts started gathering online to raise voices on children issues and child protection risks amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mayor of Rangpur Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa attended the event as the chief guest while UNICEF Rangpur field office Chief Najibullah Hameem was present as the special guest.
Chief Executive Officer of Rangpur City Corporation Ruhul Amin Miah presided over the dialogue participated by 25 adolescents of the platform from different districts of Rangpur division.
Recently, a group of adolescents of the platform visited different slums in Rangpur city, talked to children living there on issues like their livelihoods, access to health services, quality education, justice and protection during the pandemic.
"Many children living at their tiny huts in slums are already at the risk of dropout from schools and number of child marriage is on the rise due to the pandemic situation," said adolescent Hrithik.
"When we saw a seven year-old girl Shapla breaking bricks in the sweltering heat at a neighboring construction site in Rangpur, it just broke our hearts," said adolescent Munim.
"Erosion of the river Teesta in Rangpur is making hundreds of families homeless and bringing more parents and their children into a vicious cycle of poverty every year, shattering the dreams and future of children," said adolescent Alamin.
"We need to bring rural people under Covid-19 vaccination and awareness programmes must reach rural communities," said adolescent Jidnee.
"Children and adolescents living in slums and hard-to-reach areas should be given priority in Covid-19 response and development issues that affect their lives," said Sohel Rana.
In a slum, the adolescents observed the daily struggle of a young girl, Rakiba who lost mother at the early stage of her life.
She has to start every day with cleaning dishes and cooking food as a housemaid in Rangpur city.
Life of Mamun, an 11-year old boy, is much harder, who has to work from early morning till evening in a local fish market in Rangpur for arranging just two meals a day only, even without minimum wage.
The adolescents urged all concerned to make all districts of Rangpur division child responsive and tackle challenges that are impacting lives of children and adolescents.
City Mayor Mostafa assured of taking child responsive city initiatives in collaboration with multi-sectoral service providers and development partners in Rangpur so that no one faced agony like Rakiba and Mamun.
Najibullah Hameem said, "We must work together to make the government and service providers more accountable to ensure access of children and adolescents to health services, quality education, justice and protection."
In his concluding speech, Ruhul Amin Miah appreciated these spirited adolescents' group for standing with the children and adolescent issues and assured of continuous support from Rangpur City Corporation.
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