A young author writes on Universal Children’s Day

A young author writes on Universal Children’s Day

Each year on Nov. 20, Universal Children’s Day is celebrated to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. At the request of UNICEF Turkey, which I naturally support, this year I gave my column to an 11 year-old sixth grade student, Efe Naipoğlu.

On this day, children have “taken over” articles in many countries.

When Efe asked me “What should I write?” I told him to write about “children’s rights, the refugee children who live with us and girls who are forced into marriage at the same age as him before they even have a chance to play.”

Not only did he write, but he also developed a great project for refugee children named the “Education Sisterhood/Brotherhood.”

I left it completely up to Efe.

“We children, need basic human rights even more so, as we may not be able to defend ourselves like adults. I believe first and foremost comes nourishment, shelter and the right to an education.”

If all children in the world do not have shelter, they cannot live. If they do not receive nourishment, they cannot become important people and if they do not receive education, they cannot communicate with people, cannot have a job and will face difficulties their entire life.

The right to shelter and nourishment are our most basic rights.

Children must have homes where they will sleep, be loved, stay warm and have food to eat.

I believe education comes after the right to shelter and nourishment because we can only be useful to other people and do good work if we are educated.

Therefore, everything we do later on in life depends on education.

I want to have an “education sisterhood/brotherhood”

If I had the opportunity, I would do anything I can in order to provide refugee children with a happy life in Turkey.

I would open good schools for them where they can receive an education with teachers who know Arabic at those schools.

I would first teach them Turkish and after that, ensure they are taught different foreign languages.

We are a big country for them, therefore they take refuge here.

We shouldn’t expect everything to come from the government. Every family can support one refugee child’s education.

If for instance, every family who has an adequate financial situation can fulfill the needs for a refugee child’s education with the “Education Sisterhood/Brotherhood” project and not only families, but children as well. I would also want to send part of my savings to the “Education Sisterhood/Brotherhood” project.

I could send some of the books I’ve read, some of my stationary supplies or some of my toys.

In short, I would do anything I could.

Girls should go to school

When we talk about right to education, precautions must also be taken regarding girls who are not sent to school in Turkey and forced into marriage while they are still children, as education is a right for every child.

Can there ever be discrimination between a girl and a boy?

I think a center should be established with police officers on duty to check whether or not girls are sent to school.

One by one, each house should be checked and those who are not sent to school must be identified and sent to school.

No child should be married off before the age of 18.

I cannot believe how they make young girls marry someone the same age as their father or grandfather.

How do their hearts allow it? Are they blind? Girls should go to school at that age. They should play games, have fun and be loved.

You can’t take away their right to be a child. In short, all children, regardless of whether they are girl or boy, should be educated. Thank you, Sister Gila, for respecting my right to “express my opinions” by giving me the opportunity to write my views.

I love you and give you a great big hug… With the hope that all children in the world can live the childhood they deserve...

Gila Benmayor, hdn, Opinion