Euro child was a conference that recognised children’s rights. This year’s conference was called ‘Children’s Rights Matter’: Why Europe needs to invest in children, aims to take stock of progress, address ongoing challenges, share good practice and bring together different perspectives. When we first got to Brussels there was a conference opening where many people spoke of Euro Child including the Euro Child President and the Queen of Brussels. We then had a welcome dinner where we got to meet other young people who were involved with Euro Child.
In our time at Brussels, I took part in 2 workshops and a study visit. The first workshop was ‘Participation in child protection: essential for sustainable safety for children and families with disabilities’. Within this workshop, we were shown how people with psychological disabilities feel in everyday life and how different countries have different policies regarding child protection. The second workshop was ‘How will we leave the world for children – the time capsule’. This was taken by two young people who were members of Children’s Forum society ‘our children’ Opatija, Croatia. Within this workshop, I learnt that the way we live our lives now will affect young people in the future. The study visit was ‘Vrienden van het Huizeken: an association of people in poverty’ we all found this very interesting – it was a house where homeless people could go to spend a few hours in the afternoon and have a drink, there were also support classes for parents to help their children with things like homework, this enabled more children to finish secondary school in Brussels.
Finally, there was a scheme to have housing for homeless people for a 6-12 month period to find a job and get off the streets. We then had a conference dinner followed by a disco to get to know other young people from around Europe. On the final day there was a human library, where young people and adults would tell their story. The first one that we listened to was about ‘Brexit’. This was a story about the campaign and how it would affect the UK, we found this very interesting as got to hear the opinion of other young people from the UK but also from around Europe and how they felt about the UK leaving Europe. The last story we listened to was ‘My normal gay family and me’. This was about a young person from Northern Ireland who lived with two mothers, this was very interesting as no one else in our group lived in a country where gay marriage was legal. Overall, we enjoyed the experience and found many aspects of it interesting and I learned so much from the experience.
By Jessica Rees