Ik had beloofd om iets met dit goede doel te doen op mijn blog. Maar het komt er niet van. Ik zou deze tekst eigenlijk moeten vertalen en ombouwen tot een fijne Nederlandse tekst, maar ik wordt elke keer weer depressief als ik lees hoeveel pech sommige kinderen hebben. Daarom dan toch maar het persbericht in het Engels. Gelukkig hebben we in Nederland ook nog de kindertelefoon, maar dit bericht is dus van een soortgelijke internationale instantie. Fijn dat ze zoveel kinderen steun bieden…
He is scared, alone and needs to talk to someone. She is being abused by her teacher, and can’t talk to her friends or family about it. For children like these, a child helpline is often the only safe place to turn. Without a child helpline they have no-one to talk to. For millions of children this is the reality. The phone rings but there is no answer.
Since 2003, Child Helpline International (CHI) (link to http://www.childhelplineinternational.org/) has counted over 300million contacts (calls, text, webchat) from children to child helplines around the world. This is more than one contact per second. Millions of contacts about violence, neglect, sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts… but more than half of them go unanswered due to a lack of resources.
In order to make sure every child’s voice is heard, Child helpline International launched the Free Our Voices Campaign (link to www.freeourvoices.org). #FreeOurVoices addresses telecommunication providers and governments to support child helplines so they can answer every call from every child. Their campaign aims to improve access to child helpline services for all children and young people globally, and make all calls to child helplines free of cost. In addition, it aims to empower youth to speak out and be informed about their right to be heard.
Sheila Donovan, Executive Director a.i. at Child Helpline International said: “In many regions of the world children and youth are not given full access to their rights and, as such, their opportunities to develop safely into adulthood can be impeded. With #FreeOurVoices we aim to raise awareness of this issue, and ensure that child helplines are available for children seeking advice, care and protection at vulnerable times in their lives.”
Ultimately #FreeOurVoices aims to persuade international bodies to join the fight for children’s right to be heard, as enshrined in the UN Rights of the Child, and together free the voices of millions of children through increasing capacity at child helplines across the world. This includes being able to transfer limited resources into increased hours, staffing or coverage of a helpline, which is made possible when helpline numbers are free of cost.
So far, CHI is working together with many partners including the GSMA (the global network of mobile operators) with some of their member operators already implementing free phone calls for child helplines worldwide, including all telecom operators in Bangladesh and Costa Rica, Ooredoo in the Maldives and Telenor (DiGi Malaysia) in Malaysia.
Youth themselves are also heavily involved in endorsing and supporting the campaign. Child Helpline international’s Youth Advisory Council, which consists of six people under the age of 25, designed and launched the book ‘Adam’s New Adventure’ that introduces the campaign to children. So far, the book has been launched in schools in the Netherlands, Kenya, and Malawi.
So how are CHI raising support for this worthwhile campaign? Well, if their campaign is innovative, that’s nothing to the website, www.freeourvoices.org, that they’ve built to support it – it even won the Brand Republic Digital Award in the Not For Profit/Public Service category for being cutting edge. This is because instead of the usual websites that ask you to sign a petition, the #FreeOurVoices site asks you to ‘donate’ your voice. You sign the campaign’s interactive petition by recording your name and the frequency, sound, rhythm and speech pattern of your voice then determine a unique written signature with customisable colours.
Donate your voice! Help to #freeourvoices