By Raj Gonsalkorale –
The first ever National Art/Poster/Poetry Competition organised by Stop Child Cruelty, a Colombo-based social organization dedicated to ending corporal punishment in schools by 2020, was a resounding success with over 2000 entries submitted by children from throughout the country.
Despite the current political turmoil and the general air of doom & gloom in the country, this exhibition proved that children were crying out to stop abusing them and to treat them instead with love and kindness. Many who had the fortune of viewing these exhibits were moved to tears. They were heart rending messages from helpless children. Never before had any organisation or a government given an opportunity for children to express how they felt about cruelty they were enduring in schools.
A doyen of Sri Lanka’s Social conscience, Sarvodaya founder Dr A T Ariyaratne was the chief guest at the awards ceremony and he spoke candidly about the sad state of affairs in the country and was determined to protect the rights of the people and especially the rights of children. He alerted everyone present to a forthcoming people’s movement he is spearheading and called upon for support to bring sanity back to the country.
The success of the exhibition could also be measured by its ability to have been a truly national competition where a single message overcame all barriers that divide people, with entries coming from children from all communities, different religions and from all walks of life.
Stop Child Cruelty hopes that this competition and possibly a national exhibition of the entries received, along with a national conference on the negative effects on children that corporal punishment causes will galvanise the law makers of the country to take a decisive step to ban corporal punishment in schools by 2020.
Mr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Education and Higher Education who spoke during the occasion of handling over a five point Pentagon Proposal for banning corporal punishment in schools to His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena at the Independence Hall on the 30th of September, he linked such negative effects that those engaging in the despicable practice of ragging in universities and other institutions of higher learning, to acts of cruelty they experienced as children.
The competition was organized for 7-11 years and 12-18 years age categories and along Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. The winners of the competition are attached below. Winners of each category were presented with Rs 10,000/- grant for Education and other attractive prices at the awards ceremony.
Entries were requested to be sent on topics such as “How Corporal Punishment affected my life? Why I want corporal punishment to End in 2020? My vision: Life without Corporal Punishment or what alternative disciplinary measures would I prefer instead of Corporal Punishment?
Among other factors, there is little doubt that adult behaviour is conditioned by what they experience as children, and the cruelty they suffer in silence could very well condition their behaviour later in life, even as Parliamentarians!
END CP 2020 – NATIONAL ART/POSTER/POETRY COMPETITION
CREATIONS FOR REAL CHANGE
|AGE GROUP 7-11 YEARS||AGE GROUP 12-18 YEARS|
|1ST Thisaru Dandana (Narammala)
2nd Danithu Jayasinghe (Nugegeoda)
3rd Shevoni Perera (Negombo)
3rd Resandi Watakatiya (Gampaha)
|1st David Liyanage (Ragama)
2nd Sithum Shaluka (Ekala)
3rd Muditha Ginigathhena (Ginigathhena)
|1st Induranga Wijeratne (Mahiyanganaya
2nd Niyumi Rajapakshe (Jaela)
3rd Dewmin Pogampola (Gampaha)
3rd Aboorva Navajeevan (Colombo)
|1st Sanithu Samarawickrema (Nugegoda)
2nd G G Oshini Wimalka(Jaela)
3rd Yoganathan Anoshan (Vavuniya)
POETRY ENGLISH WINNER
Misha Miskin (Colombo)
POETRY SINHALA WINNER
Haritha Pramodya (Baduraliya)
POETRY TAMIL WINNER
E. Seruja (Jaffna)