The GNRC Committee in South Africa convened a children’s and youth interfaith forum on 6th March 2021 to open up a space where children could share their thoughts on interfaith coexistence as well as give children an opportunity to build a child-friendly society. The one-day activity also aimed to increase participant’s awareness and knowledge about children’s rights and motivate them to network and connect with each other. Other organizations that partnered in organizing the event included World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and South African Hindu Youth Movement (SAHYM). A total of 43 participants (35 children and 8 adults) attended the event.
During the meeting, children shared the need for adults to safeguard and protect their well-being so that they can survive and thrive in life. They added that they depend on adults, caregivers and parents to guide them to the right path so that they can grow-up to be responsible people in the society.
The GNRC Coordinator for South Africa, Ms. Saydoon Nisa Sayed underscored the need for communities to provide safe spaces for children and young people to feel protected. She added that faith communities and faith leaders have a duty to serve children and young people and safeguard their welfare, noting that even when governments fail, it is the faith leaders who remain behind to attend to children and communities.
Children were educated about the Panama Commitments on Ending Violence Against Children specifically what the world is doing to create a free, fair and sustainable society for children. GNRC–South Africa aims to continue opening up such spaces to address some of the most adverse issues affecting children and families in the country such as lack of quality education and hunger.
Special thanks goes to Ms. Saydoon Nisa Sayed, the GNRC Coordinator for South Africa; Mr. Mark Naicker, a Youth and Children’s Trainer, Mr. Alton Sekdeo; Ms. Zeenat Enrahim; Ms. Delaine Govender; Mr. Vedhan Singh; Ms. Thabisile Nene; and Ms. Nazira Rahman for facilitating the event.