July 23, Hunza: USAID Small Grants & Ambassador’s Fund Program-supported Orphan Care Support of CEENA Health & Welfare Services extended its ongoing advocacy campaign for children’s rights to district Hunza.
A total of six advocacy and awareness events have already been conducted in Ghizer and Gilgit in this regard in which more than 300 people were sensitized so far.
At an advocacy session with government and civil society representatives of Hunza, information and case studies regarding the issues of vulnerable children such as orphans and abandoned babies were shared.
CEENA Chairman Mr Sher Baz Khan informed the audience about the work CEENA has been doing for the welfare, education and health of such children over the last 27 years. He emphasized the need for adequate legislation, transparency, resource mobilization and general cooperation among government sector and civil society to address the rights of children.
Provincial Coordinator of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Mr Israrudin Israr talked about the emerging problems of children, teenagers and youth in the scenario of rapidly changing socio-economic and cultural scenario of Gilgit-Baltistan.
He shed light on the causes of issues such as stress, depression and frustration among young people and emphasized the need for research and academic debate for the analyses and solution of these problems.
Project Manager of Orphan Care Support Shahana Shah said that female children from ultra-poor families were particularly disadvantaged in terms of access to quality education and healthcare. To address this, CEENA has expanded its services with the support of USAID to provide skills development trainings to young girls and women in addition to traditional education through an Early Childhood Development Teacher Training Center and a Tailoring Center established under Orphan Care Support. More than 60 women and girls are benefiting from these trainings.
The event was attended by a large number of government officials, academics, health professionals, lawyers and community leaders. They thanked CEENA and USAID for bringing the campaign for children’s rights to their district and shared their experiences and thoughts. Although Hunza is a district with a high literacy rate and relative gender parity, poverty remains a major barrier in affordability for education, particularly higher education, and health in GB overall. CEENA presents a successful model of investing in the education of children from underprivileged families in order to help them break out of the vicious circle of poverty.