Rosy Senanayake delivering the keynote address

Microsoft Sri Lanka together with the State Ministry of Child Affairs and the Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association (SLANA) held a workshop titled ‘Connecting Communities’ an initiative to assist children and youth to take the lead in driving change in their lives, and that of their communities through technology.

The event graced by Rosy Senanayake, State Minister for Child Affairs, brought together Civil Society Organisations, NGOs, Government and the Private Sector together to discuss issues faced by children and youth, dangers of cyber security and how well all stakeholders can work together to provide a safer, healthier environment for children in an age where technology plays a critical role in connecting people and communities.

Rosy Senanayake delivering the keynote address said that her ministry is currently engaged in setting up more child-friendly spaces at their Child Secretariat and plan to set up a child-friendly phone line that would enable children to have direct access to the secretariat.  Children would be able to discuss their problems and issues with ministry personnel trained and geared to provide the solutions these children need.  However, the Minister said that they are in need of private sector and civil society partnership to make these changes happen – be they in trying to provide protection, nutrition or education and requested the support of the organisations present at the workshop.

“We are looking,first of all, to create a strong-child-friendly society, and some of you can take on maybe a district or a province in looking after these child-friendly societies and doing advocacy programs with regard to how to get into vocational programs,etc.  I would like to send you a very comprehensive report where you could come on board and support us.

There is much work to be done in the North with regard to pre-schools and child-friendly spaces, child societies, etc. for which we need your support.  We are also looking at building a value system in this country as to how we can teach our children to respect humanity irrespective of gender, an issue our country faces and we need your assistance to connect a healthy future generation to this country.”