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Saturday, 30 December 2023 14:59

Help Children Thrive in 2024

Datuk Dr.Hartini Zainuddin



Every child, every little person on this planet, holds an irreplaceable spark of hope and potential. Their dreams are the foundation upon which our shared future is built. As we stand on the threshold of a new year, the urgency to fiercely protect and nurture these precious souls becomes ever more pressing.

No child, regardless of their circumstances, should endure the cruel brunt of injustice, deprivation, or violence. Every child, without exception, deserves the fundamental right to an identity, a nationality, to education, health, to safety and love at home, with family and loved ones. It is a universal truth that we, as a global community, must uphold with unwavering determination and compassion. We must do more!

The year 2024 must be a clarion call for action, a year dedicated to safeguarding the sanctity of childhood. We cannot turn a blind eye to the harsh realities faced by children here in Malaysia and around the world. Their voices, though often unheard, resonate with an undying plea for protection, for the chance to grow, learn, and play without fear.

It is our collective responsibility, our moral obligation, to rally together and create a world where every child matters. Our aspirations cannot be mere words on paper or fleeting sentiments; they must become the bedrock upon which we build a reality where every child can flourish and thrive.

We must champion the universal recognition and protection of children's rights. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child lays down a blueprint for safeguarding these rights – the right to life, identity, education, and protection from all forms of harm. It is imperative for all nations to not just endorse these principles, but to enshrine them in law and practice. What has happened? Are these mere words now?

Education stands as an unyielding cornerstone in this endeavor. Every child, irrespective of their circumstances, deserves access to quality education. It is through education that the wings of their aspirations can take flight, leading them away and out from the shadow of poverty and the barren land of ignorance. We must strive to eliminate barriers to education, whether they be financial, social, or systemic, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn and grow.

We must confront head-on the pernicious forces that seek to harm and exploit children. This includes combating child labor, human trafficking, and all forms of abuse and exploitation. This must include the ceasefire in Gaza and every area of conflict in the world. Every nation must strengthen its legal and social protections for children, ensuring that they are shielded from harm and given the chance to live a life free from exploitation and fear. You cannot cry foul over violations that fail to protect children in another country and yet violate the rights of children in your own country. That’s called hypocrisy! Every child; every little person matters!

Healthcare is another pivotal aspect of ensuring every child's well-being. Access to quality healthcare, including preventive care, vaccinations, and treatment, should be a universal right. No child should suffer or perish from preventable or treatable illnesses due to lack of access to healthcare. Why are we disallowing children to seek accesss to healthcare?

Beyond policies and laws, we must foster a culture of empathy, respect, and support for children. Families, communities, and societies at large must champion the rights of every child, providing them with unconditional love, support, and encouragement to pursue their dreams and ambitions.

The year 2024 must mark a turning point, where we renew our commitment to safeguarding the sanctity of childhood and ensure that every child's irreplaceable spark of hope and potential is cherished and allowed to burn brightly. Together, let us forge a world where every child is valued, protected, and given the opportunity to thrive not just survive. We must ensure that children live.

Source: The Star, 30 December 2023

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Last Updated on Saturday, 30 December 2023 15:12

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