The 15th World Children's Day was celebrated in Brunei Darussalam and all other members of the United Nations, yesterday. This year's celebration carries the theme, 'Unite to Reverse the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Children' which is inline with the current global situation and countries facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic wave. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in a message in conjunction with World Children's Day 2021 stressed that the celebration aims to raise a spirit of unity and awareness that children are the most valuable assets towards achieving a sustainable future and high quality progress.
Families, communities and the entire country has an important role to play in safeguarding the rights and well-being of children in the country because ensuring the best future for them is our shared responsibility. Yang Berhormat Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, emphasized that in the current situation, empowering children to share their views, is crucial towards understanding the impact of COVID-19 on their psycho-social condition, as well as the best measure to help them in terms of education, health and social activities in the new normal. This is where the Whole-of-Nation approach is important in shouldering the effort.
Yang Berhormat explained that since the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 12 to 17 year olds began on the 8th of November 2021, 34,151 or 89.4 percent of this group have received the COVID-19 vaccine injections as of the 17th of November 2021. Aside from protecting children from COVID-19, the programme will further accelerate the rate of increase in vaccination in Brunei Darussalam with the strong support of all parties. Parents and guardians are encouraged to jointly support and cooperate with the COVID-19 Post-Pandemic Recovery efforts in the country.
To protect the well-being of children in Brunei Darussalam, with the Whole-of-Nation cooperation, the National Framework on Child Protection, NFCP was launched on the 22nd of December 2020. The Framework aims to further expand the child protection ecosystem in the country to ensure that they are able to live a safer and quality life; have access to basic necessities without falling into the gaps; as well as being given lifelong protection. The NFCP will continue to be implemented with the continuation of sharing sessions with stakeholders as well as capacity building; publication; translation as well as the establishment of the Registry of Children and Young Persons in Need of Protection, R-CYPNP as an added value to NFCP.
In facing the COVID-19 pandemic wave, strong support and assistance from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and volunteers, especially in ensuring that the educational needs of children are not neglected. The programmes implemented include:
- The Technology Devices Campaign launched by the Ministry of Education together with telecommunication companies, to provide internet access to underprivileged students to ensure that they are not left behind in online learning; and
- The Infaq Tarbiah Khas COVID-19 programme launched by the Islamic Studies Department, Ministry of Religious Affairs, to meet the learning needs and health packages for the underprivileged Arabic and Religious School students.
According to Yang Berhormat, in supporting the education initiatives as one of the main ways to eradicate the cycle of poverty, the Orphans Scholarship Programme jointly launched by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the BIBD ALAF Programme will commence in the 2022 academic year with the sponsorship of two orphaned students each year. This sponsorship will be funded through the Orphans Fund under the Department of Community Development which is contributed by the public. It is hoped that this program will be able to help identified orphans improve their quality of life and their families through education, especially for those who are less fortunate.
A platform to help children inclusively in the country has also been provided through the Talian ANAK 121. Since it was launched on 1st of October 2019, 246 calls have been received with a large increase in public complaints related to child issues. In line with the acronym Anak Negara Aset Kitani, and the motto "Kami Mendangar" or "We are Listening", the public is reminded to share this helpline with families, friends and children, so that issues affecting the welfare and well-being of the country's children can be addressed immediately. At the same time, to ensure the well-being of all children in the country is maintained regardless of their background, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is in the process of building a new Home Shelter under the Welfare Home Complex. Starting early next year, the building will provide a more comfortable and inclusive environment for certain residents to grow up, especially children in need of protection.
Source: Radio Television Brunei