From left: St. Martin Promoting Young Ambassadors Foundation representatives Member of Parliament Angelique Romou and youth advocate Riddhi Samtani.
PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Promoting Young Ambassadors Foundation (SMPYA) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Department of Youth Affairs will be hosting its annual “Rights of the Child” movie night entitled “I Am Greta”.
Member of Parliament Angelique Romou, founder of SMPYA Foundation, was approached by Riddhi Samtani, one of St. Maarten’s Youth Advocates and newly-inducted St. Maarten Young Ambassador, to assist her with her project on the effects of climate change in small island states.
“The SMPYA foundation jumped at the opportunity to help to bring about awareness to such a worthy cause which gravely affects St. Maarten and decided to collaborate with, Samtani and together decided to utilize the SMPYA’s Rights of the Child movie night to bring about this much needed awareness,” the foundation announced in a press release on Thursday.
According to the release, Samtani has embodied steadfast dedication to the issues of climate change in small islands professionally and academically. Most recently she represented St. Maarten as a TEDx organisation speaker on this very topic. In every crisis, children are the most vulnerable. Climate change is no exception. For this reason, the movie selected to air this year is titled, “I Am Greta”.
This year the foundation is dedicating the “Ready, Set, Protect” theme of the Department of Youth Affairs to protecting the rights of children in the face of the climate crisis. “This theme goes hand in hand with the Human Rights Council’s 44th session, 2020 annual Day of the Rights of the Child which was held in July of this year under the theme ‘Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment’,” said the release.
The Rights of the Child Movie event will be held at the Philipsburg Cultural Center, on Back Street from 4:30 to 7:00pm Friday, December 4. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the invitation will be extended only to a limited number of secondary school students who will have to sign up at their respective schools and will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis once they register via the sign-up sheet.
All participants must register by Friday, November 27. All attendees should note that COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced: everyone must wear a mask and social distancing will be implemented.
Those who participate in this event will be extended the invitation to become a St. Maarten Young Ambassador with the SMPYA Foundation and will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the presentation.
Romou wished every child a Happy Rights of the Child Day on November 20 and encourages all children to seek knowledge about their rights to be protected and to have a safe environment.
She also reminded everyone how The Rights of The Child Convention came about and quoted the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, “In 1989 something incredible happened. Against the backdrop of a changing world order world leaders came together and made a historic commitment to the world’s children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfil their rights, by adopting an international legal framework – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Contained in this document is a profound idea: that children are not just objects who belong to their parents and for whom decisions are made, or adults in training. Rather, they are human beings and individuals with their own rights.
The Convention says childhood is separate from adulthood, and lasts until age 18; it is a special, protected time during which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity.
According to the release, the Convention has since gone on to become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives.
SMPYA Foundation hopes this collaborative effort will be the continuation of bringing awareness to environmental safety and that by the airing of the movie “I Am Greta” more young persons will be inspired to join the fight to protect themselves and the lives of others through a safer environment.