Caption: European Union Deputy Head of Delegation for the Pacific, Johnny Engell-Hansen with the three new publications. Photo: SUPPLIED.
Today, Homes of Hope celebrates the successful completion of the European Union ”Safety Nets Project” together with their 19th Annual Anniversary, attended by the European Union Deputy Head of Delegation for the Pacific, Johnny Engell?Hansen and stakeholders.
For the past four years, Homes of Hope has been working with the support of the European Union to eliminate the worst forms of Child Labour: withdrawing and preventing children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) and Trafficking in the Pacific including Fiji.
?Over the past four years we have worked within 40 Fijian communities and identified over 200 vulnerable children, provided educational assistance, helped develop Child Monitoring Systems in schools and established a National Database to compile statistics on CSEC and trafficked children,” said Homes of Hope, Director, Pastor Mark Roche.
?We have also trained community leaders about issues around CSEC and trafficking, how to recognise and report, and how to network solutions,? he said.
Engell?Hansen said: ”European Union believes it is our duty and responsibility to prevent and protect children from violence and exploitation, in particular, commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, youths and women. The EU is committed to fight these and has recently adopted an Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy for the period of 2015-2019 with a focus on child protection systems and on several economic, social and cultural rights of youth,”
”We are particularly happy for the ”Safe Shelter” services they have provided to the victims, through education, rehabilitation and integration support program that has allowed child victims to be part of society again,” said Engell?Hansen.
”We are also happy that the program has empowered various vulnerable families, communities and stakeholders to respond cohesively and appropriately to such issues, and to make this project a lasting success,” concluded Engell?Hansen.
As a result of this project, three new curriculums, which have been developed to educate children, youth and community leaders on the issues of CSEC and trafficking were launched today.
The first of the three publications is titled Thumbs Up! Preventing Sexual Abuse of Young Children and has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. It is a resource for teachers of Preschool through Early Primary School and is now a mandatory part of the national curriculum.
The second publication is titled Bravehearts: Stand Up Against Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking is designed for Secondary School students, Tertiary school students, and village/community leaders to help them develop action plans to stop CSEC/trafficking personally and in their own communities.
The third publication is titled Risk Indicators For Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children outlines national and international statistics and data to develop Fiji-specific indicators for those involved in or vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
?The Safety Nets Project has had a significant impact on the lives of children and young girls. Every step we take means one more child is free from a life tainted by abuse and exploitation.” concluded Pastor Mark.