The Day was celebrated at Holguin, Cardenas, Ranchuelo, Matanzas and Havana with interfaith events bringing joy and reaffirming the rights of children. November 20 has been incorporated into the annual calendars in churches, religions and faith-based groups throughout Cuba, including Christians, Muslims, Baha’is, Yoruba spirituality and non-practitioners. This has been possible in no small degree thanks to the committed leadership of Moraima Gonzalez, Christian Institute for Gender Studies, and Rev. Ofelia Ortega, GNRC coordinator for Cuba.
Holguin: The effects of Hurricane Sandy did not stop the third year of interfaith celebration at the City Pediatric Hospital. Participating were Open Bible, Orthodox, Missionary of God, Methodist, Society of Friends (Quaker), Seventh Day Adventist, Morava, Pentecostal Assembly of God, Baptist and Catholic. The theme “I ask you for Peace” was shared in song and theatre with over 100 children, adolescents and adults in attendance. The event was televised, creating a great deal of expectation. Participants committed to continue concrete action for children at the hospital, in schools and neighborhoods. Thanks to event coordinator Pastor Maria Yi, and Carlos Drummond Bennett, Jose Dorrego and many more collaborators.
Cárdenas: The Day of Prayer & Action retreat was held on the weekend of November 17 and 18 with 27 children and 39 adults of the Reformed Presbyterian church. On the first evening, children and adolescents celebrated with costumes, games and music. They heard about the origin and objectives of GNRC and the DPAC, and after listening to the story from the “Learning to Live Together” manual about Sadako, a Japanese girl who made 1,000 paper cranes before dying due to the effects of the nuclear disaster in Hiroshima, children and adults made 70 cranes.
Sunday service was the next day, and 18 children participated with a gestural interpretation of “Let the Children Sing” a song about the children of the world working for peace. The cranes were presented and Sadako’s story shared. Many thanks to the organizer Liudmila Hernandez.
Ranchuelo: The Day of Prayer & Action for Children was celebrated as part of the Baha’i Community’s award winning community socio-cultural project. Under the title “Children´s Right to Living with Joy”, 47 children and adults gathered despite the winter night to discuss issues such as child protection and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The event was televised, and commitments were made to continue supporting this project that aims to promote education, prayer and virtues. Thanks to Mariela Inufo of the Baha’i Community for organizing.
Matanzas: DPAC-2012 was celebrated at the Evangelical Theological Seminary on November 21, with 25 children and 30 adults from different traditions of faith. Also present were children from neighboring poor communities. The children spoke of their rights in their own words and painted pictures representing them. The “Dream Fixer” children´s review sang and told stories about violence free living. Finally, there were concrete commitments to be carried out in families and schools around the Seminary.
Havana: The country’s capital had two celebrations, a devotional on the 19th of November at the CIC, Council of Churches of Cuba, and a celebration on November 2oth at the Baha’i Faith’s national center.
At the event at the CIC 30 denominations participated in a dialogue on “Actions to Prevent Violence Against Children.” Written information about DPAC was handed out, and commitments were made to work for children. There were 45 participants from all over the country and different denominations: Presbyterians, Salvation Army, Nazarenes, Episcopal, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Adventists, Catholics. The event was possible thanks to organizers and facilitators Rev. Ofelia Ortega and Moraima Gonzalez.
The Bahá’í Faith organized the other event with 25 adults and youth and over 20 children, with representatives from different faiths such as Christians and Muslim, in an atmosphere of fraternity and diversity. Information about GNRC and its mission was distributed, the theme “Learning to Live Together” was discussed and prayers were offered for peace, children and their rights. There were also songs, poems as well as arts and crafts for the children. Special thanks to event Organizer Oscar Asencio, member of the GNRC Steering Committee.
Original report summaries edited by Mercedes Roman, GNRC Latin America