This year, on the occasion of the International Day of Children’s Rights and Adolescence, celebrated every November 20th, the Marist International Solidarity Foundation ETS (FMSI), in collaboration with the Secretariat of Solidarity of the Marist Brothers Institute, has organized the event “Right to be Children – Derecho a ser niños.

The event represents a unique opportunity to share knowledge and experiences, as well as to reflect on recommendations and next steps to be taken as a Marist Family, in order to ensure that every children can enjoy their fundamental rights. FMSI and the Secretariat of Solidarity are determined to contribute to the creation of a world where children’s rights are respected, protected, and guaranteed. The event, focused on children’s rights, aims to shed light on the challenges and difficulties facing young people around the world, actively promoting their rights and safety.

Br. Ernesto Sánchez Barba, the Superior General of the Marist Brothers, along with Br. Ken McDonald, President of FMSI and General Councillor of the Institute, welcomed participants and emphasized the importance of global support and commitment to protecting the rights of children.

Br. Fortune Chakasara from the Southern Africa Province, illustrated the importance of acting for children’s rights in Africa. Br. Fortune has proven experience in designing, organizing, and implementing seminars on child protection throughout the Marist African Region. With over a decade of experience in the field of children’s rights, protection, and safeguarding, he is a respected member of the Marist Brothers International Commission for the Protection of Minors and Sexual Abuse, an advisory body of the Marist Brothers Institute. His training includes a Postgraduate Diploma in Child Safeguarding from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, as well as certificates in Child Rights and Protection and Child Rights in Africa. He has recently completed a Master of Advanced Studies in Child Rights (MCR) at the University of Geneva. Br. Fortune’s testimony provided an opportunity to understand the unique challenges facing children in this region and the importance of targeted initiatives to improve their living conditions.

Internationally, the presence of Maria D’Onofrio, Secretary General of CCIG (Centre catholique international de Genève), illustrated the rights of every children according to the definitions and conventions of the United Nations in an international context, offering a clear view of the importance of International Cooperation in promoting and protecting the rights of children globally.

A significant moment was the awarding of the “A Better World for Children” prize, with the intervention of Alessandra Aula, Secretary General of BICE (Bureau International Catholique de l’Enfance). The award not only celebrates positive initiatives for children but also serves as a call to continuous action to ensure the well-being of the youngest.

The goal of the event was to share knowledge and experiences, reflecting on future actions within the Marist Family to ensure that every children can fully enjoy their fundamental rights. The focus on Africa, international collaboration, and the recognition and valorization of positive initiatives are all key elements that characterize the event. The event represented a significant step toward creating awareness to undertake an increasing number of concrete actions to ensure that children’s rights are respected worldwide. The participation, diversity of topics addressed, and declared commitment to the protection of children’s rights highlight the importance of collective initiatives to create a future where every children can grow up in a safe environment that respects their fundamental rights.

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