Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
First of all I would like to take the opportunity to convey a special thanks to Ms. Graca Machel for taking the time to spend the day with us in capacity of patron and there by continuing the legacy of your late husband and his special interest in human rights.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this highly qualified audience today.
I have spent over five years in this beautiful country working with children. And years before that in other countries of this continent.
As one of the founder of the NPO Project Playground in Cape Town, I have seen a fair share of suffering, poverty and neglect. But I have also seen children’s eyes light up with hope, as they are empowered to shape their own lives.
And I believe hope is justified. Beyond the everyday reporting of disaster around our world, so much good is happening too, which I think is important to mention – we are on the right way forward. Democracy spreading. Poverty diminishing. Literacy increasing. Part of this is fueled by digitalization and globalization. The world has never been smaller.
But there are menacing threats as well. That is why we are all here today. There are still clear violations of the rights of the child and it's important to engage all sectors of the society, including governments, businesses, the civil society and don't forget the local NGO's and children themselves. And the main challenge is that all sectors think and work differently, that's why it's crucial to gather everyone and take actions together.
As our beloved activist Nelson Mandela said: it takes a village to raise a child. And that is exactly what Global Child Forum is trying to achieve. Cross sector partnerships to improve children's rights. Everyone has the responsibility to raise our children to BE free citizens of the world, free from violence in all shapes and to be self depended people. As long as children suffer we have work to do – as individuals and common commitment.
Finally, on behalf of Their Majesties the King and the Queen of Sweden who are the founders of Global Child Forum, I would like to bring their best regards and wishes for fruitful dialogues and a productive day whitin the frame of the UN convention on the rights of the child.
I will end my speech with a question to all of you:
What actions can you do, as a professional and as an individual person, to make a positive impact on a child's life?