World Day of Prayer and Action celebrated by children from the Somalia-Kenya-Ethiopia border town

Africa

The celebration the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children in Mandera was organized by the Student Peace Club Union in Mandera.  Activities included working with primary, and secondary schools. The goal was to bring children and teachers together along with religious leaders to pray.  This provided the participating groups an opportunity to understand the concept of violence and its effects to children.

Location:   Mandera County, Kenya 
Introduction
Mandera County, located at the border between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia is one of the most conflict prone counties in the region. It shares the boarder with Ethiopia and Somalia, and where there is currently a war being fought engulfing Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.  The influx of refugees to Kenya who pass through Mandera leave it with a lot of challenges, the recent incursions by Al shabab and the Military response by KDF has further complicated the situation especially for children in Mandera. We can’t imagine the extend of social disruption in their lives let alone the maiming and death of some.
Many who cross from Somalia are orphaned and end up not making it to Dadaab refugee camp; they end with relatives and other guardians in Mandera.

Mandera County therefore requires such program more than anywhere else in the country. Any interventions especially one that will promote a sustainable culture of peace would be the best gift for this volatile and vulnerable region.

Through the courtesy of GNRC, we were able to create over 10 school based peace clubs  in Mandera clubs have managed to come together under one umbrella dubbed Student Peace Club Union of Mandera. They started a peace news bulletin where several peace related issues/activities/interventions are covered.

Marking the World Day of Prayer for Children
The celebration the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children in Mandera was organized by the Student Peace Club Union in Mandera.  Activities included working with primary, and secondary schools. The goal was to bring children and teachers together along with religious leaders to pray.  This provided the participating groups an opportunity to understand the concept of violence and its effects to children.

Some highlights
The world prayer day was well attended by peace clubs of the above mentioned schools. It was also observed with prayer and spiritual lectures on the rights of children who were facing with many challenges of life. Each peace club was represented by 5 members and one patron. There were also 10 out of school youth and 8 religious leaders bringing the total number of participants to 51 including 2 volunteers and one coordinator
Speakers pointed the need for:
•  Positive parenting and non-violent child-rearing
•  Prevention of early marriage to empower girls and families.
•  Education for all school age children a must.
•  The community should take stern actions to perpetrators of child labor

It was noted that working with parents are essential, because studies have shown that most violence against children happen within the families.  Therefore, when we promote non-violent discipline, positive parenting and the prevention of early marriage as projects that are primarily directed to parents and caregivers, the result will be very good. The religious leaders stressed the importance of child right and care since all children at tender age have serious needs for quality life.

Talk Excerpts from Sheikh Mohamed Maalim Omar’s

Children in Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said:
“Respect your children and treat them politely. The noble Prophet of Islam said:
“Take good care of your children and bring them up well.”

Islam views human life as a sacred gift from God. The Qur’an repeatedly stresses the sanctity of life (hurmat al hayat). The life of every individual – regardless of gender, age, nationality or religion – is worthy of respect. There is no distinction made between young and old, male or female. Corporal punishment and other forms of humiliating  treatment of children conflict directly with the advice of the Prophet, which recommends treating those who are under the age of seven as children (employing tenderness and compassion), those from age seven to fourteen with care and concern and those from fourteen onwards as close friends.

The event was officially closed with a word of prayer by sheikh Ali Maalim Mohamed.