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GNRC Pakistan was launched on 27th July 2022, in Durban, Lahore, Pakistan, at a ceremony that brought together twenty-nine (29) participants; among them, GNRC Pakistan committee members, led by the Coordinator Mr. Iftikhar Mubarik and representatives from different organizations and faith traditions namely, Islam and Christianity. Children were also represented.

  

The event began with a recital of the Holy Quran by Mr. Arshad Abbasi, followed by prayers from Pastor Saleem Khokhar. Mr. David Paul, GNRC Pakistan Co-Coordinator, opened the event by welcoming the participants and giving an overview of the activities implemented by GNRC Pakistan. All the activities mentioned aim to protect children from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation, and harmful practices.

 

In his opening remarks, the GNRC Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, appreciated GNRC Pakistan’s work towards strengthening and reinvigorating the Network and congratulated them on launching the committee. 

Pastor Saleem Khokhar appreciated the establishment of the GNRC Pakistan committee, stating that religious communities need similar platforms that can help build knowledge and skills to deal with violence, abuse, and exploitation of children. 

Ms. Rashida Qureshi, a committee member, reiterated GNRC’s commitment to creating safe spaces for children to learn, explore, and express themselves without fear. She also emphasized the need to engage children in actions for child protection to ensure that GNRC Pakistan is working towards the meaningful participation of children in all its matters. 

Sheral, a child member of GNRC Pakistan, shared that every child has a right to live free from all forms of violence and abuse. “There is a need to empower children through consistent efforts so that they can identify the various types of violence and abuse and be able to react in such difficult situations,” she said. 

Dr. Mustafa pronounced the GNRC Pakistan committee officially launched and wished participants the best in their work towards a world free of child violence.

 

GNRC Lebanon Committee was launched on 8th June 2022 via an online event attended by a total of eighteen (18) participants from different faiths including Christianity, Islam, and Druze. 

Anthony Saade, a GNRC Youth committee member shared the activities that have been implemented in the efforts of the GNRC Lebanon to end violence against children. He pointed out that GNRC Lebanon is working closely with children by creating a safe space for them to share some of the challenges they face. 

 

Fr. Abro Raad, GNRC Coordinator for Lebanon shared some of the challenges that the country is currently facing, highlighting that those challenges negatively affected the education of children in Lebanon.

Dr. Ali commended the GNRC Lebanon members for their continued efforts in building a safe world for children despite the challenges they are facing. He encouraged them to continue working towards creating a better world for children. Dr. Mustafa then, officially launched the GNRC Network and committee.

GNRC Comoros Committee was launched on 30th June 2022 at a hybrid event (virtual and live), attended by a total of twenty-nine (29) participants, among them GNRC Comoros committee members, faith leaders, children and GNRC Coordinators from other countries under the leadership of the Country Coordinator, Mr. Said M’Changama Akim. 

Oustadh Safari Mohamed a member of GNRC committee, gave a brief history of the GNRC anchor organization in Comoros, that was started in 2015 and works to ensure the well-being of children in the country.  He thanked Arigatou International for continued support. 

Speaking during the launch, the GNRC coordinator Comoros, Mr. Akim highlighted some of the forms of violence that children face in the coastal regions of Comoros such as physical, psychological abuse and early marriages among others. He urged all the stakeholders involved to join hands and work together to eliminate these social norms. “Our activities are directed to supporting vulnerable children especially victims of sexual abuse,” he said.

                       

Some of the collaborations that they have formed include a close work relationship with the mainstream media and social media influencers to create public awareness against sexual abuse and identifying other forms of child exploitation. He mentioned that children are given a priority in their Network so that they can learn to be responsible and to know their rights. 

                                  

GNRC Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali thanked and commended GNRC Comoros for their continued work and commitment to children. He pronounced GNRC Comoros Committee launched in the presence of faith leaders, children and members. 

 

 

                             

GNRC South Africa was launched on 26th June 2022, in Durban, South Africa, at a ceremony that brought together sixty (60) participants; among them leaders from seven (7) different faiths, namely, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Singh, Bahai and the Jewish communities. Twelve (12) GNRC South Africa committee members led by Ms. Saydoon Sayed, the GNRC South Africa Coordinator, children representatives, religious leaders, and a professionals from the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa attended the occasion.

  

GNRC Secretary General Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali together with the Arigatou International – Nairobi Secretariat team, joined members from GNRC South Africa to launch the GNRC South Africa Committee. In attendance were Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, the Director, Arigatou International Geneva and the End Child Poverty Director, Rev. Fred Nyabera. 

Saydoon Sayed welcomed the guests by appreciating them for making time to honor and celebrate children. Ms. Saydoon invited representatives from all faiths represented, who led the opening prayers. Children led by Mowat Park High school recited a spectacular dance poem with messages on peace, justice, joy, love, and hope.

  

Speaking during the launch, Rev. Mike Vorster, reiterated that there is need to reestablish the dignity of children as they are often not given a chance to express themselves adding that children should be the center of the house that needs to be nurtured and protected. “Children need to grow in an environment where they feel accepted and feel loved”, he concluded.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Mustafa expressed his gratitude to see different faiths and traditions represented in the event and congratulated the GNRC South Africa Coordinator for her leadership, in the work towards strengthening and reinvigorating the Network. “It is my pleasure to be with you here today to officially launch GNRC South Africa, as we focus on building a better world for children” Dr. Ali stated. 

 “We are happy to see a good team of committee members comprised of different faith leaders, different traditions, and children’s representatives all with unique abilities and qualities to support the GNRC South Africa Network”- Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, the GNRC Networks and Programs Coordinator said. She further added that she was looking forward to working with all of them for a strengthened and reinvigorated GNRC South Africa Network. 

Rev. Nyabera congratulated GNRC South Africa and noted that he looks forward to continue working together with the team. He then updated the participants about the tenth anniversary celebration of the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty dubbed ECP@10. 

GNRC Secretary General Dr. Ali pronounced the GNRC South Africa officially launched. He wished participants the best in their work towards a world free of child violence. Children present lit candles and cut a cake to symbolize the launch.    

               

                                          

On 20th June 2022, the GNRC Secretary General Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali together with the Nairobi Secretariat team, joined members from GNRC Bosnia and Herzegovina to officially launch the GNRC Bosnia and Herzegovina Committee. The virtual event was attended by twenty-four (24) participants, among them faith leaders, a psychologist, coordinators and contact persons from other countries, and children. Also, in attendance were Fred Nyabera (Director, End Child Poverty), Ms. Beth Gum, and Ms. Vera Leal, both representing Arigatou International Geneva office.

Ms. Ismeta Begic, the GNRC Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina opened the meeting by giving her welcome remarks where she stated that their main goal is to promote inter-faith collaboration in advocating for children’s rights and their well-being. She then welcomed Dr. Ali, who, in his remarks, congratulated the members for the work they have been doing over the years. He further encouraged them to continue focusing on improving and building better conditions for children. He also reminded them that the goal of launching and re-launching the country Networks and Committees was to strengthen and reinvigorate GNRC, as one of the recommendations of the Network assessment.

Rev. Nyabera updated members on the tenth anniversary of the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty. He also encouraged members to continue focusing on multi-stakeholder cooperation in their efforts to strengthen the Network. In her remarks, Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, the GNRC Networks and Programs Coordinator, commended GNRC Bosnia and Herzegovina for ensuring diversity in the committee membership, especially by including children.

Fr. Josip Ikic quoted a verse from the Quran and a similar one from the Bible on ‘prayer and work’, - laying emphasis on the importance of both, in our work towards ensuring a safe community for all children. 

Children were represented during the launch with Sajra, a 13-year-old representative from Mozaik who played a song. Two other children, Muhamed and Melika led the opening prayers and gave their message of hope for children. Ms. Zvonimira Jakić, GNRC Youth Representative for Bosnia and Hezegovina highlighted some of the activities being implemented in the country with children and faith leaders. 

Dr. Ali concluded the event by officially pronouncing GNRC Bosnia & Herzegovina Committee launched.

The GNRC Secretary General and Director of Arigatou International – Nairobi, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, together with the Director of Prayer and Action for Children, Ms. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, who both serve in the UN Multi-Faith Advisory Council (MFAC), on 4th and 5th April 2022 participated in an annual retreat of the Advisory Council.

The GNRC Country Coordinator in Tanzania, Ms. Joyce A. Mdachi, was invited by the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre (ZANZIC) to facilitate the Women Interfaith Conference on, “The Role of Families in Building Social Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism,” on 30th and 31st March 2022. The two-day conference engaged more than forty-five (45) women from Islam and Christian religions from the districts of Chake Chake, Wete, Micheweni and Mkoani in Pemba.

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