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Press Conference exclusively for Children and Youth about coronavirus

“Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center realized a Press Conference today that was exclusively addressed to children and youth on the occasion of the measures taken to prevent the spread of virus COVID-19.

As adults, children’s daily routine has abruptly changed too. Children are forced to adjust to a new reality without being prepare for this change.

As it is provided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 17), every child must have access to information and material that aims to promote their social, mental, moral, psychical and spiritual health. This information should be immediate and in an understandable language to the child, responding to the their cognitive and developmental level.

During the Conference, practical ideas and solutions were given on how children can face this situation for the upcoming period. Knowledge is the tool and the power for children and their parents.

Opening the Conference, the Director of the Humanitarian Division, Ms. Andria Neocleous referred to the measures taken by Hope For Children at this crucial period so that the Organization can continue to be next to the children who need help. She specifically mentioned: “We continue to provide therapeutical and support services to children victims of all forms of violence, we immediately respond to missing children cases and we provide support to foster parents. At the same time, our staff remains next to the unaccompanied children accommodated at the children’s shelters of the Organization and responds to the phonecalls and messages coming from the online chat on a 24/7 basis”.

Ms. Dialechti Chatzoudi, Coordinator of the Psychology Department, encouraged children to share unpleasant feelings that they may experience this period with people they trust. Also, once a day to be informed only from valid sources and with the assistance of their parents. At the same time, taking into consideration that under these circumstances, problems like violence against children continue occurring and may also increase, she stressed: “During this period we may use the internet and social media more in order to communicate with others. It is very important that we are careful for our safety, in order to avoid abusive behaviors, such as cyber bullying or breach of our personal data”.

Dr. Michalis Angastiniotis, Pediatrician and former Director of the Pediatric Unit of Makarios Hospital, participated at the Press Conference and explained to the children the importance of the protection measures for both themselves and for those around them. In specific he mentioned “For a while, you will not be able to play with your friends as you did before… In order to protect yourselves it is important to keep around two meters distance even from the people you love..”, while he continued explaining practical measures that children can apply.

In his statement, the Director-General of Hope For Children Mr. Joseph Borghese said: “We are in constant communication with all stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education and Culture, exploring ways of cooperation in order to strengthen the support towards all children”.

Every child’s health and access to medical care is one of their fundamental and basic rights, as it is established on article 24 of the UN Convection on the Rights of the Child. The state and society has to make sure that this right is not violated and that everyone is actively contributing to the application of this right in order to preserve not only the psychical, but the mental health of all children. “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center helpline 22 103234 and the online chat at: www.uncrcpc.org.cy are available to all children and parents to give support and guidance on a 24hour basis.

Watch the Press Conference below:

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