Workshops that teach children about their rights and about how to say ‘No’ are being conducted during the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.
“We need to teach children how to say NO in the correct way when they are subjected to any kind of abuse,” said Mariam Al Gunibi, Social Worker at the Sharjah Social Services Department, the governmental body that’s organizing these workshops.
Children are taught to say no when they feel that they are in danger or when they’re uncomfortable by a request. They are taught to be assertive when saying it, to avoid being in places by themselves, to leave situations in which they feel unsafe and to immediately inform their parents. During the workshop, children are also taught what abuse means – physically, emotionally and commercially.
In various social settings, children are also taught how to distinguish between a good and bad touch. “A good touch is one that we like, that makes us feel good, or that makes us feel safe… like a handshake, or a mother’s hug. A bad touch makes us feel in danger and uncomfortable,” said Al Gunibi. She added, “Many times children are unaware if what they’ve been exposed to is an abusive situation or a violation and that’s why they need to be informed of how to react in such situations.”
In another workshop held during the festival, Al Gunibi’s colleague Ghaitha Mathhar, a lawyer and legal researcher conducts a session for older children (11 years and above) titled ‘My Rights’. The workshop teaches children what their basic rights in the UAE are, in accordance with the articles of the International Children’s Rights Treaty that the UAE signed on. These include the right for provision, protection and participation.
In this workshop they’re also taught that they have complete ownership of their own body. They are also encouraged to contact a helpline number if they need to. “Parent’s shouldn’t scare children from the police. They should learn to trust them and know that they are there to protect them,” said Mathhar. In the UAE, a child is anyone who’s younger than 18 years old.
Both workshops will also be held on April 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25.
For more information, please contact:
Aliaa Al Ori
Monday, April 21- 2014 @ 12:19 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.