POSTED November 2, 2017
Memories from Canada: A former sponsored child’s journey
Catch up with Angie as she recalls her visit to Canada to speak up for rights of children from Paraguay
By Ángeles, CCFC former sponsored child, Paraguay
Ángeles (pictured above, speaking) recently joined teens from around the world in Ottawa at a violence-prevention meeting hosted on behalf of the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada. The 16-year-old former sponsored child from Paraguay shared experiences from her country where children are traditionally seen and not heard and violence at home is all too common. Today, a vibrant youth group with representatives from all CCFC’s programs work together as part of a national network of children and youth. Many have revolutionized their communities, and now they have the right to participate in decisions affecting their own lives. As Angie told us at our Markham, Ont., office during her visit to Canada, “If you want to do something for us, the most logical step is to do it with us.” Below she recounts highlights from her trip:
I just returned home from a special visit to Canada. I participated in the 8th Milestones of a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Meeting in Ottawa on behalf of the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, a group I am part of at home in Paraguay.
It was a wonderful experience! I met teenagers who feel like I do about creating a better world without violence or mistreatment, and — just like me — are working hard to end it, speak about it and join with stakeholders to make change happen.
I also visited Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) Markham, Ont., office, where I shared my story about childhood years I spent at my local community centre where CCFC worked through local partner Dequeni. Spending time there influenced my life in so many ways. I became a leader in my community, promoting the right for children and adolescents to participate in their futures.
I was happy my voice could be heard in Markham — and not only my voice but the voices of children from my country. I didn’t just feel heard, I felt like my thoughts were being taken into account. CCFC’s CEO, Patrick Canagasingham, personally committed to work with children and adolescents like me.
Two of my long-awaited dreams came true on the trip. First, I saw the country that’s home to sponsors who have made so many families in my community happy. Second, the voices of children and adolescents were heard. We are living hard realities in our countries so the right to participate is very important.
And, knowing our work doesn’t end here is very satisfying. The trip wasn’t just about going to Canada and returning home. Change is underway. We founded Children and Young People Advisory Council (CYPAC), a group with representatives from the Ottawa meeting. This network will review the work we’re implementing in our respective countries and support the countries in most need. We agreed to implement awareness campaigns about our right to be protected from violence, research the issue and create a Facebook fan page for the group, among other initiatives (Angie pictured above, signing CYPAC action plan).
I returned to Paraguay very happy. I found what I was looking for in Canada. And, I’m happy to say children and adolescents, adults and government can work together to make a better world. It may not be tomorrow, but positive change is coming.
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