In November, the Arab Regional Conference on the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ARABCAN), took place in Dubai, hosted by Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.
Family for Every Child was represented by Abla El-Badry of Hope Village Society (Egypt), Sultana Erbas of Hayat Sende (Turkey), Shatha Habahbih of Jordan River Foundation and Hugh Salmon of the Secretariat. All three members are part of the Working Group on Alternative Care in Islamic Contexts. Abla and Sultana share their reflections with us:
The ARABCAN conference was an excellent gathering for learning and sharing different experiences in the field of protecting children against violence, and for exploring potential opportunities for future partnerships in the region.
The theme of the conference was Safe Childhood: From Legislation to Implementation. It was interesting to learn of the common challenges that the whole Arab region suffers, including armed conflicts; strong traditions and harmful practices (forced marriage, female genital mutilation); poverty and inequality, and human trafficking.
Together we presented our project idea on promoting and supporting Alternative Care in Islamic Contexts as part of Family for Every Child. Our aim was to raise questions in people’s heads about their own country’s care model and to let people know about our contexts, what, as Family members, we have achieved so far through the workshops, exchange visits and in keeping dialogue alive between each other.
We wanted to share this information with the Gulf countries as we felt there would be a lot of interest in this new initiative, given our similar contexts and because the region has lots of funding potential. We received feedback from participants on how critical yet sensitive, the topic is. One particular audience member recognised that we would need lots of religious and community input to make the project a success.
A highlight of the conference was learning about the INSPIRE initiative for ending violence against children from the World Health Organisation. It brings different sectors together and presents seven strategies to end violence against children, which are very useful. It’s available in six UN languages.
In terms of next steps at Hayat Sende, we have recently sent an official letter to the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, detailing our ongoing activities as part of Family for Every Child and sharing reports from our recent conference and workshop attendance, as well as the foster care country analysis reports done by 11 members. Our aim is to inform government institutions about innovative practices from around the world so we can learn from it in Turkey.
In Egypt we are planning a conference in February 2018 in order to open dialogue with the Egyptian government to update our national laws on children’s care. We will share the learning we have gained from other Family members on foster care, as well as the learning from this conference on the psychological rehabilitation of children who have experienced violence at home, school or on the street.
For your support: https://www.english.hayatsende.org/sayfa/katki.html