Save the Children on 16th of December conducted an “Advocacy Forum” focusing impact of parental migration on children through which EVERY LAST CHILD Campaign was launched in Sri Lanka. The Advocacy Forum is an initial kick off of a three year campaign. 

The objective of the Advocacy Forum was to acquire inputs for the campaign action plan in 2017/18 and to achieve the objectives with the collaboration of children and other stakeholders. The goal of the overall campaign in Sri Lanka is that children of migrated parents have equal access to care, protection and education in an inclusive and safe environment through special measures that ensure the realization of their rights.

In the Advocacy Forum four children representing children of migrated parents shared their ideas and views of both positive and negative impact of parental migration on them. “Once the mother is migrated we miss her love and care. We don’t have anyone to share our feelings. Sometimes we get very busy with household work and then it becomes difficult for us to do studies, since some fathers are not ready to listen to us and take up additional responsibilities at home” mentioned the children in their session.

The children presented their ideas based on a children’s consultation conducted with the participation of around 150 children in different locations. Chris McIvor in his speech mentioned “As an organization Save the Children takes very seriously the importance of child participation. The persons most able to tell us about the impact of not having their mothers and fathers around for many years are children themselves. That is why we have focused in recent months on collecting and gathering children’s voices from a variety of different locations to ensure that our information is accurate, comprehensive and relevant. One of the purposes of this meeting today is to have children themselves share some of their observations around this phenomenon, and to reinforce the point that any solutions that are proposed should have the endorsement and buy in of the very group that is most affected”

The Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs addressed the event highlighting the importance of care and protection of children of migrated parents. The secretary appreciated consulting the children and creating a platform for them to voice their issues and recommendations. And further stated that she is obliged to declare her support with regard to the campaign.

A technical discussion was conducted with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Employment, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, Save the Children, an independent human rights, child rights and development consultant and four children representing the Child Advocacy Team of the campaign. During the discussion the participants at the event representing civil society organizations, children and parents directed questions to the panel highlighting gaps in the services.