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Children’s Day 2022
October 11 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
October 11th of each year is dedicated to the celebration of Children’s Day in Singapore. This year it is also a day to draw attention to adolescent girls to ensure they have a just upbringing and equal opportunities. This is also to provide a message and to empower girls and young women in all their diversity around the world that despite the barriers, they are able to rise up as leaders: To be change-makers; To be the forefront of areas like climate action; To demand for greater accountability from their governments; To speak out for human rights and for girls around the world who continue to face many unprecedented challenges.
In line with the theme “Our time is now – Our rights, Our future” for this year 2022 International Girl Child Day which inspires women and girls around the world to embrace their equality in order to receive and believe in their rights for education, technology, medical care and their future. In Good Shepherd Centre (GSC), the staff created experiential activities to let the women and children experience what it was like to have low technology and no educational opportunities.
The first activity was titled “The phone Cup.” Residents had to pair up with one another, and make a phone using 2 paper cups. They threaded each cup with the end of a long string and stood with a cup at a distance from each other to allow the string to be straight. One would speak into the cup while the other listened to the message from the cup which is placed on her ear. The children were amazed at this way of communication. One 9-year-old child shared that she would never be able to survive in the world if such communication exists and is thankful that she is able to use her handphone freely. Another 10-year-old shared the she admired the creative ideas of these girls who had to find ways to keep themselves occupied without a mobile phone.
Education & Technology for Today
The second activity, “Find the word – Sesquipedalian” involves looking up the word in a physical dictionary. This activity was an eye opener for most of the children and mothers as they had never seen nor used a dictionary. During the activity, one mother felt the tediousness of physically searching the word and had requested the use of her phone. After some reflection on her request with the staff, this same mother realized that freedom of education and exposure to technology was crucial for this day and age. Through this simple exercise, the residents could empathize with girls from underprivileged countries who had neither education or use of device to help them in their studies.
The last activity, “The Contract” was the most impactful one for the mothers. This activity consists of a made-up wedding photograph contract which was in a language that was unfamiliar to the person who would be signing the contract. During the activity, many residents showed discomfort when Staff Ms. Brenda encouraged them to sign the contract. Residents wondered what the contract was about and what would they be made to do after signing on a contract that they had no idea what it was all about. At the end of the activity, it was revealed that it was only a made-up contract, everyone was relieved. One of our foreign domestic worker shared that in her country, girls were tricked and conned into being trafficked due to the lack of education or technology to understand the contract they had signed.
At the close of the programme, some mothers reflected with gratitude on the opportunities which Singapore provided for their children in education and technology without the discrimination of girls. Some of the teenaged girls reflected that they were grateful for a safe place to stay which allowed them to focus on their studies and other interest they might want to pursue. After their sharing, each resident took a moment to give each other a DIY bead bracelet and said encouraging words to one another as a way of supporting and celebrating each other as Girls.
The Young Poet : Equality
And to officially end this year’s celebration of the International Girl Child Day 2022, one of our teenage resident aged 14 wrote this poem, titled “Equality”. This young poet wrote this poem with a hope to inspire girls around the world to stand strong and believe in their own uniqueness as a girl and to send a message to society about the importance of treating girls as equals to their male counterparts.