JKF launches child abuse prevention awareness

23 October 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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John Keells Foundation (JKF) – the social responsibility entity of the John Keells group – launched child abuse prevention awareness with the first such programme being conducted for school children of Colombo 2 recently to coincide with International Children’s Day (October 1) and International Day of the Girl Child (October 11).
The programme was organised under its long-term Neighbourhood Schools Development Programme encompassing the five government schools in Colombo 2 - Al Iqbal Muslim Balika Vidyalaya, Holy Rosary Sinhala Vidyalaya, Holy Rosary Tamil Vidyalaya, Siri Sariputta Maha Vidyalaya and T.B. Jayah Maha Vidyalaya. 
The programme, which was attended by 135 students of grades eight and nine as well as principals and teacher representatives from the five schools, addressed basic definitions and knowledge surrounding what is child abuse, including indicators of abuse, preventative methods, who to inform and where to go for support in cases of abuse and ways to create awareness. A special part on cyber exploitation and violence was also included as all students had mobile phones and more than 50 percent stating they used social media networks and the Internet on a daily basis.    
Speaking at the event, chief guest, Zonal Education Director W.M.J. Wickramanayaka noted the growing need for children to be aware of and guard themselves against potential threats of child abuse and exploitation. 
JKF Head of Operations Carmeline Jayasuriya said, “This initiative is part of John Keells Foundation’s Project WAVE (Working Against Violence through Education) under which we have already sensitized over 6000 staff of the John Keells group on gender-based violence and child abuse issues and also facilitated awareness for lawyers and law students in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Bar Association and Zonta Club Colombo. It gives me great pleasure to extend this programme to children with the ready support of the Zonal Director of Education and the respective school principals. We plan to conduct awareness for children of other age groups as well as youth of areas in which we are active.”
The programme was conducted by Hans Billimoria of The Grassrooted Trust, who has devised the Sound Mind Sound Body Relationship Education Programme for school children and is also part of the National Task Force on Cyber Exploitation & Violence (CEV) convened by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), and in this capacity conducts CEV prevention programmes for schools.
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