General News of Saturday, 30 December 2017
Young girls must be mindful of what they wear as they enter into the New Year, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Otiko Afisah Djaba has advised among other things in her end-of-year message to children.
“As we are in the festive season, let us be mindful of what we wear, especially the young ladies out there,” she said, adding: “Let us always keep it simple and decent, for it is the inner beauty that matters.”
Below is Ms Djaba’s full statement:
END OF YEAR MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN FROM THE HON. OTIKO AFISAH DJABA, MINISTER FOR GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL PROTECTION
The end of the year is a special moment. It is a period of joy and celebration for successfully going through the year. It is also a time for sharing with loved ones and a time for taking stock and planning for the next year with great expectations. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) recognises the importance of this period and wishes to celebrate with all children in Ghana for making it to the end of 2017. Our gratitude goes to the Almighty God for preserving the lives of children in the country and their families.
When we reflect on the happenings of the year as a Ministry, we realise that it has been a challenging but fulfilling year. I note with disappointment the diverse misfortunes suffered by some children and their families; defilement cases, child marriage cases, reported abuses, child labour and trafficking, among others. However, a lot of efforts have been made to improve the lives of children, including the provision of health care and educational opportunities, protection from harm, abuse, violence and exploitation. It is our expectation that child protection efforts would be strengthened at all levels in the year 2018 to provide a safer society for children to develop their full potentials.
As future leaders, you must aim higher, have bigger dreams and work hard towards achieving your dreams by taking your studies seriously. This is the only way you can achieve your aim in life and become the medical doctor, teacher, manager, lawyer, farmer or any professional career that you aspire to. Life is not a bed of roses, and nothing comes easy. To be anything in life, education is the key. It is the surest guarantor of future success; it is the greatest enabler that bridges the gap between the rich and the poor. Fortunately for you, with the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and the free SHS policy initiated by the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, education is free from nursery to SHS level, so take advantage of this wonderful opportunity created for you and leave no room for excuses.
I urge you all to take very good care of yourselves so as to maintain your dignity and self-esteem and not to fall prey to unscrupulous deviants who would want to destroy your bright future. Desist from all misconduct, respect yourselves, your siblings, your friends and most especially people who are older than you. “Honour your father and your mother that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” as stated in the 5th Commandment in Exodus 20: 12.
As the year gradually draws to a close, my advice to all Ghanaian children is to desist from all dangerous activities, keep safe and avoid any casualties and unfortunate incidents, since Ghana needs all of you alive. As we are in the festive season, let us be mindful of what we wear, especially the young ladies out there, let us always keep it simple and decent, for it is the inner beauty that matters. Be kind and show love to people with all forms of disability and treat them well. In the same way, be tolerant with people who are different. Indeed, “do unto others as you wish others to do to you”
Parents should also take good care of their children and protect them from harm, ensuring that all children witness the end of 2017 and are ushered into the New Year in joy and merriment. In trying to correct them, as written in Ephesians 6:4, let us not provoke them to anger, instead bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We should be responsible, spend quality time with them, be interested in who their friends are, know what they are watching and listening to and also discuss sexual and reproductive health issues with them.
Children and parents are both advised to report any suspected abusive moves from unscrupulous adults or even other children to the Police and other appropriate authorities. With the launch of the Ministry’s ‘Helpline of Hope Call Centre-0800800800/0800900900, we are hopeful that children will receive the needed support from all stakeholders to ensure their protection.
On this note, I, Otiko Afisah Djaba on behalf of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, wish all children in Ghana and their families a Happy and Prosperous New Year in advance. We look forward to a better new year with more opportunities for fulfilling the rights of children in Ghana.
Afehyia Pa and God Bless you all.