Revelation of a Child's Right Through Art
African American social reformer, abolitionist, writer and statesman Frederick Douglas once said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Come July 8 to 30, Ashe is taking another step to help build strong children at their summer camp. The camp that will be done under the theme 'Hush' will be in aid of teaching children their rights and empowering them, explained Conroy Wilson, executive director of Ashe. This is the 23rd year of this camp, but this year is special.
According to Wilson, the title 'Hush', in the Jamaican context, is a word of comfort - to say I understand or I am there for you.
rights and responsibility
The arts are always important to Ashe and with the surge of crimes against children, the organisers found it was necessary not only to teach children the arts but their rights. "We will also teach them that with rights comes responsibility," said Wilson. He made sure to note that Ashe was not trying to teach children that they should not be disciplined if they have done wrong and to be rebellious in the name of rights. But their rights were something they should know.
There were endorsements by the director of Children's Affairs in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Grace-Ann McFarlane, and acting deputy representative of UNICEF Jamaica, Lone Hvass, on the initiative that Ashe has taken up incorporating children's rights into their programme. Hvass spoke about the rights of the child sometimes being forgotten and how learning their rights can empower children as well as adults. She also noted that people should never separate the children's rights from human rights as many might do.
Present at the launch of the camp which took place at The Ashe Company on Tuesday night, parents whose children have participated in the camp before, noted that they have seen differences in their children. Both Kamla Lynch and Gafton Rodney spoke about their respective daughters and how they had gained confidence from being a part of the summer programme.
All who were present got a taste of what to expect from these youth when it's time for the performances as last year's campers sang and danced The Right of a Child, which will be the opening song for this year's musical.
The age group permitted for summer campers is between four to 18 years. It will be held at 8 Cargill Avenue between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.; aftercare will be available.