- Calls on the implementation of the Supreme court directive condemning the use of corporal punishment on children in schools
- Introduces Sri Lanka’s FIRST ‘#NOගුටි ZONE’ beacon school to end corporal punishment
‘Lama Surakum Yathra (Child Protection Tour)’, the second phase of the ‘#Noගුටි National Campaign to End Violence Against Children’ concluded on an emphatic note at the Independence Square, on Saturday, April 2, 2022, petitioning to Parliament to pulsate child protection in the hearts of public representatives. Spearheaded by the Stop Child Cruelty Trust (SCCT) and the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) and led by Sri Lanka’s first ever Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors the campaign that began on April 1 in Galle, reached Colombo after making several stops in key coastal towns.
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena – Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka – Founder Chairperson, Stop Child Cruelty Trust and Co-Convener, Child Protection Alliance, Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors, Parliamentarians, Activists, Students, Parents and Well-Wishers gathered together at the event. Students tied blue ribbons, international sign for child abuse on the wrists of MPs symbolizing their commitment to protect children. The Principal of Sirimewan Maha Vidyalaya Nihal Kadupity read the public oath, which was pledged by all participants, whilst the #Noගුටි theme song ‘Hitha Uhulanne Na’ by Child Protection Ambassadors; Umara Sinhawansa, Harith Wijeratne and Adithya Weliwatta, was played.
#NOගුටි was launched with the goal of eradicating corporal punishment and in obtaining cabinet permission to implement the historic Supreme Court ruling of February 2021. Accordingly, 225 children launched a historic appeal ‘#225මඕන’ directly to 225 Members of Parliament at the grand finale on Saturday in Independence Square, speaking to move child protection to the heart of the national security agenda and to implement the Supreme court directive condemning the use of corporal punishment of children in schools.
The campaign also saw Sri Lanka’s first ‘#NOගුටි ZONE’ beacon school to end corporal punishment, Sirimewan Maha Vidyalaya, Horana. 250 students, 100 parents & 50 teachers from Sirimewan Maha Vidyalaya participated in the walk that the students lead, bringing home twelve coffins carried in memory of the 12 children who were abused and killed in the past 18 months in poignant demonstration of solidarity and responsibility of the true beneficiaries of the future. The ‘#NOගුටි ZONE’ beacon school is one of six game changing actions of ‘Together to #ENDviolence’ a global campaign and Solutions Summit Series to inform and inspire everyone working to end violence and abuse of children, and to catalyse the political and financial commitments needed to end violence against children by 2030.
Making the Keynote Speech at the event, Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka, Founder Chairperson, Stop Child Cruelty Trust and Co-Convener, Child Protection Alliance reiterated that, “Child protection needs to be politicized from Municipal to local government to parliament, irrespective of party or colour. Child protection must be the core of the National Security agenda. As per the various agreements signed by respective governments of Sri Lanka, the Child Protection Alliance launched Sri Lanka’s first #NOguti zone school, Sirimewan Maha Vidyalaya, Horana, and expects it to act as a beacon for a future without violence against Children.”
The Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors Saranga Disasekara, Dinakshie Priyasad, Umara Sinhawansa, Harith Wijeratne, Adithya Weliwatta, Dr. Visakesa Chandrasekaram, Kalakeerthi Niranjani Shanmugaraja, Abisheka Fernando and Otara Gunewardena appointed on February 21, 2022, contributed in various ways during the different legs of the journey.
Speaking at the event, Saranga Disasekara, said, “There has been a tremendous response since the launch of #NOguti campaign, which indicates the people’s enthusiasm to end violence against children. I fully support the Yathra program and endorse the petition by children and encourage all to sign. We must urge the authorities to listen to the voices of the future”.
SCC earlier initiated the formation of CPA Sri Lanka’s first alliance of credible organisations passionately committed to protecting and promoting the rights of children. The Alliance firmly believes that working cohesively towards focused targets will help achieve greater success, especially in advocacy work with relevant state institutions.
Child protection is a collective social responsibility and SCC/CPA will continue its collaborative efforts to build a self-governing ethical code of behaviour to safeguard and promote the rights of victims of child abuse, while also preventing re-victimization in the community. Those interested in getting involved towards the cause can visit the website at www.stopchildcruelty.com and the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stopchildcruelty or email firstname.lastname@example.org.