Queen Rania affirm takes part in international conference on child abuse

November 17, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman) Lauding the progress of the Child Helpline International (CHI), Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah advocated wider outreach to all children in need, at the fourth annual CHI Consultation Conference, in Amman, Monday.

Patronizing the first CHI conference held outside of Europe, Her Majesty thanked the attendees for recognizing Jordan as an example of a developing country dedicated to ending the misery of child abuse.

“We are here to break [the] cycle of sadness,” she said, “because their [children’s] hurt is our heartache, their wounds are our scars, and their silence is our shame.”

“With your expertise, we can expand this network, train more counselors, and ensure that no child falls through the cracks and into the shadows,” said the Queen to the nearly 300 attendees from over 80 countries.

The four day conference, which brings together participants from various NGOs and networks working with children’s rights issues, consultants from CHI, children from public and private schools as well as international experts in the area of child safety and protection, is creating a friendly platform for practitioners working in social services to share experiences and lessons learned in operating child helpline networks.

The most unique element of the conference, though, is the emphasis organizers have placed on children’s participation. With nearly 100 young people actively contributing to the discussions, it was the voice of Sarah Kayali that rang loudest at the opening session.

Confident, articulate and poised, Kayali asserted the importance of including children in this crucial conversation. “There is great truth and originality in the thoughts of a child,” she said, “We are the voices and thoughts of the future.” Kayali said she appreciated the opportunity to be part of the conference because when the topic is about children “they need to be there and have their voices heard.”

While at the conference, Queen Rania joined the youth participants in a workshop as they brainstormed techniques to raise awareness. She later toured an exhibition hall where the youth had proudly displayed their posters, videos and paintings that highlight the helpline.

Children who are in need of guidance or assistance in this matter should call 110, which according to Jordan River Foundation (JRF) Director General Valentina Qussisiya is a toll free number supported by the four telecom carriers in Jordan. In 2006, JRF partnered up with CHI to establish the helpline. Thanks to that partnership, “children can take control for themselves and ask for help,” said the Queen.

According to Nenita La Rose, Director of CHI, the conference will focus on fundraising, child participation, awareness raising and innovative use of technology. It will conclude with a presentation from the youth participants about their experiences.