The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises that children should grow up in a healthy and protective environment so that individuals develop fully and harmoniously. In any society, the social fabric undergoes constant pressure. Problems with the family structure leads to a child being exploited. If basic human (especially children) rights are not secured, experiences have shown that the goals of economic development are not reached either.
With this underlying objective, Halley Movement started a nationwide awareness campaign in the early nineties (1990). The main focus was ‘Child battering’ which culminated with a research study on child abuse. The recommendations called for urgent action and Halley Movement convened in 1990 a conference for Mauritius followed by a one week training programme on child abuse and prevention. Support was provided by the Australian High Commission.
Since 1990, a wide range of initiatives and activities have been organised by Halley Movement around Child Rights for Mauritius and Rodrigues Island. Numerous meetings, conferences and summits have taken place on the subject. Excellent guidelines taking the form of pamphlets and booklets have been written. ‘Child Abuse-A shared community concern’ the first publication of the organisation has been much appreciated.
Stakeholders including the elderly have also been roped in for the intergenerational programmes where senior citizens of the country have been empowered to assist in child welfare programmes.
However, in recent years, we have witnessed a considerable increase in child abuse ranging from mental/physical, domestic, sexual to negligent treatment. Given that traditional mode of preventing child abuse is no longer working, Halley Movement will soon launch a new service which takes into account modern mode of communication which is easily accessible to children in an attempt to provide counsel and information to children.
Halley Movement believes that efforts must continue to harness the enormous positive potential towards child rights education to make a real difference in children’s lives around the world by informing them, listening to them and ultimately empowering them.