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Marymount Convent School Observes International Day of the Girl
By Sr Del, RGS
As part of Children’s Day celebrations, staff and students of Marymount Convent School (MCS) held a prayer session, in which they remembered the millions of children, especially girls who are in situations of deprivation, health risk and in danger of abuse and exploitation. These suffering children in Africa, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Philippines have lost their childhood. Huge number of young girls are mothers caring for their babies in impoverished slums, working on farms and in factories, or begging on the streets, some with limbs cruelly hacked off. In Singapore, while there are some children who also suffer abuse and other social injustices, the majority have full education and enjoy their childhood, surrounded and supported by their families, teachers and friends.
Thus, MCS intentionally raise awareness to International Day of the Girl and urge the students to join in prayer for their peers around the world who have lost their rights to their childhood. Candles symbolising Hope were lighted for the following groups of children:-
A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare. Every day, thousands of children go missing during calamities, e.g. tsunamis, floods, and earthquakes; tragedies, such as riots, wars, and accidents; in crowded places, like railway stations, and malls. Some children run away from their homes or are kidnapped; many of these children end up being trafficked for child labour, sex exploitation, begging in the streets and even beaten to death.
Children with special needs may have autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, Down Syndrome, mental retardation, dyslexia, sensory or speech disorders like vision or hearing impairment. They require assistance for the developmental disabilities that may be medical, mental or psychological. These children are sometimes ignored and excluded from the mainstream and need the inclusion and services of therapy and education that they deserve.
Food is the most basic human need. Lack of food causes malnutrition which threatens life and limits physical development and mental capacity to grow and learn. Every six seconds a child dies because of hunger. Malnutrition costs valuable lives; 50 per cent of all childhood deaths are due to malnutrition. In India alone 15 million children die of hunger each year.
There is more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone. The world has the knowledge, resources and the tools to conquer hunger but sadly there is not enough effort worldwide to bring food security to the poorest.
Let us do our part to cut down food wastage and share what we have, whenever we can, so that no child goes to bed hungry and no child is born underweight or stay undernourished.
The life of an individual human being begins with conception and ends with death. In abortion an unborn child dies. Abortion is killing a very young human life and is against God’s prized creation. The ‘culture of silence’ of those who know better and yet cannot protect the voiceless unborn is ironical.
Every year, about 11 million babies are killed before they are born, and around 20,000 women die every year due to abortion related complications.
In Singapore about 10,000 babies a year are not given a chance to live.
Let us pray for responsible living in our world.
Child labour is work that harms children and keeps them from going to school. Millions of children are occupied in work that deny their right to survival, education and development. They are often abused and neglected. It is estimated that 215 million children currently work at all sorts of dangerous jobs around the world because of poverty. They labour in agriculture, are exposed to pesticides, in cotton fields and plantations; in carpet manufacturing, fireworks, brickworks, glassworks and footwear factories. They work in mines and quarries, in setting explosives, sieving and carrying ore.
There are also the Street Children who are abandoned by their families or those who run away from home due to constant abuse. They live off the streets looking for odd jobs to earn a living, searching for food in rubbish heaps and sleep on the pavements. Some are recruited as child soldiers, some for the drugs trade and others sold for other illegal services.
Street life is unpleasant, risky and always exposed to intense sun, rain, cold, dirt, smoke and pollution. Street children work as rag pickers or pickers from rubbish bins and garbage heaps for recycling waste paper, plastic, glass, scrap metal, and the list goes on.Often, people regard street children as lawless, crime-prone outcasts. Police and local officials use violence and force against them, arrest them and dump them in jail-like remand homes. Though they live in hardship and poverty they survive in groups, sharing things like food and clothes in a spirit of friendship – they sleep together under the same night sky, teach each other trades like rag-picking, protect each other from street violence and the police, and take care of each other when they are sick.
Let us pray for these unfortunate children who face great difficulties through no fault of their own and remember that in small or big ways we can offer them some help by being grateful and sharing our blessings.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer for all the children of our world, especially those whose lives are hard and miserable and lift them up to God who is Father.