On June 1, 2004 the Youth Council of the Union of Child Welfare got together in the information centre for the first time.
14 youngsters participated, who had all shown interest in participating in the Youth Assembly’s activities after the Union’s public announcement in May. As it was the first meeting, they started with getting to know each other and receiving an overview of children’s rights, the Union’s activities and the UN’s inquiry about violence against children. The possible assignments and working directions for the Youth Assembly were established in work groups. Two areas shined out the most – children’s rights and violence. The youth considered in necessary to raise awareness about children’s rights among their peers in the most attractive and catchy way – e.g. drama, slideshows or different events. They found it to be important to support other children and youngsters by providing them with information about the possibilities for getting help and that it is very important to improve the awareness rising in schools. The necessity to stand for students’ rights was brought into attention. Main problems seemed to be the weight of the schoolbag, the overwhelming study capacity and unequal opportunities for children from country- and city schools. It was agreed that cooperation with Estonian Student Council Union will be established regarding students’ rights, as the topic belongs to their main priorities.
The youth decided that the most important things would be mapping the situation, gathering information and researching the children’s rights and violence against children. When it came to the topic of violence, they emphasised the need to focus a lot of activities on educating the parents, so they would know how to raise their children. In order to prevent and fight violence, the Youth Assembly found that a good cooperation with schools student councils is very necessary.
The aim of creating a Youth Assembly for the Estonian Union of Child Welfare is to support the children’s participation and give them a chance to speak when it comes to the problems that affect their lives directly.