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As part of an internal capacity building process, CRC recently held a day of Diplomatic Training for the entire CRC Team, hosted at our new office in Westville. Robert Botha of the James 1:27 Trust, a Yezingane Network member and specialist in Diplomacy training, spent a day at the Children's Rights Centre, going through the process of demystifying what Diplomacy is all about. We had an exciting time of learning negotiation skills, which made the challenges that governments and even civil society face all too clear The biggest goal is to get a situation where everyone wins, though as we learnt through a highly realistic game, designed by the United Nations that this is hardly ever as straightforward as it appears. We were journeyed through various dimensions of diplomacy throughout the day, from the importance of physical appearance to the neccessity of courteous communication. Diplomacy skills are extremely important especially for effective advocacy. For more information on how to get a hold of Robert Frost, contact us at the Children's Rights Centre.

My life has been rough since I was three years old. I’ve been sexually abused by three people. It happened when I was three, six, seven, and nine years old. It’s always been someone related to me. Life hasn’t always been that bad. Then again most of my life I was raised by my real mom. I had to take care of my little brother all by myself when I was only seven years old.

Surviving difficult times can be hard and also easy. My life has been easy and also hard at times. I think the hardest time I have ever lived is what I am in now--foster care. Foster care has been hard for me even though I haven’t been in it very long, just since April 20. The reason it’s been the hardest is because I was so close to my mom, because when the last abasement occurred, my mother asked me what had been going on. She caught the 3rd person abusing me twice. I told her to let him stay the first time because I was very afraid of him. He had threatened to kill my mom and my little brother. It wasn’t my fault or my mom’s either. It was his. He knew what he was doing was wrong.

First, when you become a foster child it will be a little different. But, on the other hand it will be quite easy to meet a new family. For example, when I first became a foster child, I was so afraid that she would not like me. But, however, she really was gentle and loving, and I stayed with her for two years.

Most important, some foster parents have really strict rules. Such as, ask before you go out; be in the house before dark, and they have to know where you are and whom you are with. Also, they have other very common rules like, clean what you mess up, no eating in the rooms, etc. They do this because they care about you as you were their real children  and they don't want anything to happen to you.

However, foster parents also look at how messy or neat you are. Such as if you keep your room clean, or do you clean after yourself. They prepare you for independent living. So that’s why they will be always on your back about things.

If I had to give advice to other foster kids, I would say if you’re shy of your foster house, well, don’t worry. You will get used to it fast. For instance, when I came, I got used to it fast. Also, when I came, I was kind of worried that I would not have a friend for a while.

A couple of weeks later, you will have a friend.If you’re shy of your new classroom, you will get used to it fast like I did. If you are worried that you don’t have that much stuff, you will get lots of stuff. I got lots of new toys by being good and helping out my foster parent. If you don’t know how to read, they will teach you. My foster mom is nice and takes care of me. Even if your last name isn’t the same as your foster family, don’t worry, people will understand

The first time I encountered a difficult time in my life, it was one of the saddest days that I can remember. For instance, when I got taken away from my mother, I cried and cried. I still have lot of memories and dreams about her. With lots of help from my two therapists, my life, faith and heart all have new destinies.

The second difficult time in my life was when I had to keep on moving from foster home to foster home. I have moved to about six different homes now, and that has not changed my great hope for waiting my turn to get adopted. My faith is really high right now. My caseworkers have, both, done a terrific job supporting me. They have even put me in a great agency, and all together, I have survived

childrenCHEESE has won a reprieve -- meaning advertisements for it will not be banned during children's television programmes. But ads for crisps, biscuits, pizza, butter, mayonnaise, soft drinks, most breakfast cereals, burgers and chips will be banned during children's TV hours, and restricted the rest of the time. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced tough advertising controls on foods high in fat, sugar or salt.


However, it said that following a recommendation from the Department of Health, cheese will be exempted from the ban. Instead, adverts for cheese will have to include a message showing the recommended daily consumption limit for cheese -- which is one matchbox-sized portion of 28g. As well as the ban during children's TV hours, ads outside of these times aimed at youngsters will not be allowed to feature celebrities, sports stars or cartoon characters such as Peppa Pig. They will also be banned from including any health or nutrition claims or promotional offers. Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte hailed as "commonsense" the decision to exempt cheese from the ad ban. Safefood, which promotes healthy eating, said it hoped "that no future exemptions to these rules will be made  


young"I was struggling in so many areas of my life," recalls Ellie, 18, who lived in a foster placement for three years from the age of 14. "I'd go out, get drunk, get arrested. I met this guy from youth offending, and at first he was a really nice boy. But then things started to change. I'd hold his drugs, his money, his gun. It got really abusive, mostly mental. He used to say some pretty horrible things. And even now I have some confidence issues. It was pretty damaging." Ellie's foster mother discovered Ellie was in a sexual relationship when she found a used pregnancy test. Ellie says she was then made to go for tests to see if she'd contracted any sexually transmitted infections. "That's when I found out I had chlamydia," she says. "This was the boy who I thought was the love of my life. It was the love I should have got from my parents."

toddlersOver-emphasising the risks of 'stranger danger' does not give children the full picture, say the experts, or the opportunity to work out the correct responses to particular situations. It's every parent's worst nightmare. The fear of a child being abducted haunts us all, not least when high-profile cases saturate the media, as has been the case this week. A generation ago, television viewing seemed to be routinely interrupted by public information campaigns warning children about "stranger danger".

All adults of a certain age will remember the lasting impact of watching as children the "Charley Says" broadcasts in the 1970s, warning about risks such as strangers in parks approaching you. "Don't talk to strangers" feels too didactic and unfriendly for this age. And, in any case, there are no such public service campaigns now. So how should a parent explain to a child how to behave safely? John Cameron, head of child protection operations at the NSPCC, says it's important that adults instil a sense of perspective in children about the risks. "Say something like: 'Not all strangers are bad, but occasionally they might want to harm you. You must never get into a stranger's car and you must scream and shout if they try to make you.' But I would reinforce the idea that not all strangers are dangerous."

bangladeshThe children are well versed in handling such scenarios; they don't argue, but methodically list the evils of child marriage. "We can't force them to listen to us," said Antara Tabassum, 16, one of the leaders

When the matchmaker turned up at her house, 13-year-old Rehana Begum knew something was wrong. Shortly afterwards, an unknown woman smiled at her from the doorway; her worst fears were confirmed. Her parents were planning to marry her off.

Rehana, a class six student at a secondary school in Nilphamari district in northern Bangladesh, was well aware of the likely consequences of early marriage – an end to school, isolation from her friends and a life of hard work at her in-laws. But she also knew outright rebellion was out of the question. In the poverty-stricken, deeply conservative northern districts of Bangladesh, children defer to elders.

Fortunately for Rehana, she knew exactly who to call: the district's vaunted "wedding busters", a movement consisting of 11 groups of around 20 youngsters, campaigning against child marriage.

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