First Lady launches national essay contest
Guyana Chronicle
June 18, 2002

Related Links: Articles on youth and education
Letters Menu Archival Menu

FIRST Lady Mrs. Varshanie Jagdeo yesterday officially launched the national essay competition on the rights and responsibilities of children regarding education, family and their community.

The competition, which targets all children from age eight to 18 years, is organised by the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Mrs. Jagdeo, in her remarks at the launching ceremony held at the Umana Yana, Kingston, Georgetown, called on all children within the required age range to participate in this national essay competition.

Prizes will be awarded on a Regional basis and according to the age groups, she said. The closing date for entries is September 4, 2002.

The essay should be 300 words long if the writer is between eight and 12; and 800 words long if the writer is between 13 and 18 years of age. The entries should be sent to the NCRC Office, c/o Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security located at Water and Cornhill Streets, Georgetown.

Each entrant is reminded to write his or her name, age, gender, address and telephone number (if there is one), at the back of each entry.

Mrs. Jagdeo noted that to organise such a competition takes a lot of hard work and co-operation. In this regard, she expressed thanks to the NCRC Commissioners for another great idea; to Dr. Sreelakshmi Gururaja, Assistant Representative of UNICEF for her, and her organisation’s, continued support; and Education Minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey for delivering an `education perspective’ on the rights and responsibilities of the child at the launching ceremony.

Dr. Gururaja, in her remarks, congratulated the NCRC for yet another successful effort to raise advocacy for the rights of children and also to look at new ways in publicising and raising awareness on the rights of children.

“It symbolises that there is a need for alliance-building and that there is a need for information where we have parents, children, experts, decision- makers, leaders (speaking, writing, commenting) on various issues. We are hoping that this would raise public debate on what is the level of clarity, what is it that children expect from their parents and from communities in society,” Dr Gururaja said.

“So I look at this event as actually being a continuation of all that the NCRC had set out in its work plan for this year,” she added.

“Giving the child the right to ask questions, the right to express himself/herself and the right to participate…I think what’s interesting about this competition is that it does not stop with the child asking questions (but) it gives the child an opportunity to put forward solutions, to attempt to write out for us adults, what are the problems (and) also his or her views or opinions on solutions,” Dr Gururaja said.

“Therefore it is extremely important that we look at the significance of the child’s right to participate within that perspective since it gives adults an excellent opportunity to listen and the right of a child to be heard,” Gururaja asserted. (Mark Ramotar)