Global Child Forum
April 11, 2018
Royal Palace Stockholm Sweden
The world needs to recognize that children are our most precious resource in securing our future. According to Lisa Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of UN Global Compact, 40% of the total global population is younger than 24 years. And we always find that children in rural areas across the world are at risk of being left behind, which is why Rising Hope Foundation’s main focus is with rural schools and children in the rural areas.
In establishing the business case to invest in children’s education, it is important to note that this responsibility does not and cannot fall on one stakeholder. The government, corporate (private sector) and civil society must come together to make this a priority that they are all invested in. When we all come together and agree that children are not an expense, they are an investment; it brings us to focus on the main goal, which is the return that comes from sending them to school.
When looking at countries where child labor is prevalent, you find that the main driver of child labor is poverty. Civil Society, Private Sector or any other stakeholder cannot dictate that all children must go to school when the issue that is driving them to work at such young ages is not addressed. The main question would then be “Can you provide free education for all?” and with this question follows, “Will the quality of education not be compromised where education is free for all, especially in developing countries?”
This is where the different stakeholders ought to make a case and exercise their statesmanship on highlighting the long-term benefits of sending children to school, and upon this realization, providing quality education would not need to be a question at all.
Where stakeholders prioritise providing education to children-everything surrounding the issues with education becomes addressed, such as employing qualified teachers and rewarding them with salaries that are suitable instead of underpaying them, which in turn means teacher absence which is high in most rural schools in developing countries as highlighted by Tessa Bold a Professor at the University of Stockholm ceases to be an issue. Being in the 4th Industrial Revolution Era, ICT is also vital and can be utilised to play a vital role in aiding teachers and educating children, specifically those that are in rural areas, who are usually without such exposure or resources.
We had the opportunity to hear words from HRH Crowned Princess Victoria, and her words resonated with me as they echoed what Rising Hope Foundation stands for. “The purpose of children’s rights is to allow a child being able to dream and pursue those dreams.” Through educating children, they have the ability to see their dreams become tangible.
It was exactly three years ago, when I attended my first Global Child Forum where I met with Princess Sofia of Sweden, where she said “It takes a village to raise a child, and where there is a child suffering anywhere in the world, it means we still have work to do.” Attending the Global Child Forum this year, speaks to exactly what she said, with the differences that we continue to make in every child’s life collectively and globally, the work continues, and we cannot rest as long as there are children around the world that are left behind in any way. We continue to work towards “respecting, and protecting every child’s rights and allowing them to dare to dream” with us as conduits.
The Forum was filled with individuals, representatives from various corporate organisations such as the Lego Foundation, Nike Foundation, Goal, and representatives from various Civil Society organisations such as SOS. The Global Child Forum has committed to be a partner, to support and tell stories of the work being done by organisations represented at the Forum this year in collaboration to advocate for children’s rights. In the words of Martin Tan, Executive Director of Majurity Trust, we are reminded that “The goal of collaboration and winning is in asking, what it is producing for our children? Are their lives better?” This emphasizes that we should all come together and have something to contribute as a collective towards the lives of our children and their rights.
Everyone was asked to take a pledge committing to advancing #childrights in one’s business/organisation? This is GCForum's newest initiative urging businesses to create the change. Rising Hope Foundation took the pledge.
Ntandose Hlabangana, Founder, Rising Hope Foundation
Rising-Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
Donations to Rising-Hope Foundation are tax deductible.
Our tax identification number is 82-4980493