Reimagining a better world for children

James Kon

Universal Children’s Day (UCD) is celebrated annually on November 20 with this year’s theme being ‘Reimagine a Better World’ where children are encouraged to share insights and imagination to improve the world on matters that affect them such as education and health, said Community Development Department (JAPEM) Acting Director Pengiran Siti Rahmah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh at the 14th Universal Children’s Day celebration at the Jerudong Park Colonnade yesterday.

The event, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) through JAPEM, was joined by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.

Commissioner for Children under the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Women and Children (ACWC) Dato Paduka Dr Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abdul Rahman, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, senior officials of the government, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also attended.

Some 110 children from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School, Rimba Arabic School, International School Brunei (ISB), Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Secondary School, Chung Hwa Middle School, Sengkurong Primary School, Jerudong Primary School, Sayyidina Hassan Secondary School, Sayyidina Husain Secondary School, Pusat Bahagia Brunei-Muara and Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam participated in the celebration.

The minister officiated the event by popping balloons revealing an illustration by children from Pusat Bahagia and Welfare Home Complex to reflect a better world for them. The balloons covering the illustration symbolised barriers, and the act of popping the balloons symbolised the cooperation needed between children and adults to create a better world for children.

The event celebrated the children’s rights based on articles from the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) to promote and support the development of children in physical, mental, spiritual and social areas as well as increasing awareness among the public, to ensure that children are protected from neglect and violence, and safeguard children’s rights and needs.

Various activities ranging from social, physical, mental and spiritual, academic, artistic and cultural as well as an exhibition on various services, demonstrations and awareness of services available for children such as Talian ANAK 121 had been lined up for the day.

The celebration was held in collaboration with various government agencies and NGOs, including the Department of Schools at the Ministry of Education, Department of Islamic Studies at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Culture and the Arts Section of the MCYS, the Literature Bureau of the MCYS, Youth Development Centre of the MCYS, Brunei Council for Social Welfare (MKM), Council on the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities (MKOKU), youth volunteers, Buzzing Bees, Youth Transformation Community Club (KKBT), the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) and Jerudong Park Playground.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin pops the balloons at the ceremony; and the minister takes part in an aerobic session. PHOTOS: JAMES KON