SkolaSajf Activities 2021: The Future of Europe with and for Children

15 July 2021

Europe Direct Valletta and Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta, will be participating in the government run summer school, Skolasajf, by delivering 26 sessions to 9-14 year olds, between July 15 and August 19.

Through the use of interactive material, children will be able to learn more about the Europen Union and engage in a discussion that will encourage them to come up with ideas on how they would like to see their own future, primarily revolving around the following four  themes; child-friendly societies; healthy lives; education for life and protection for security.

The sessions will thus encourage children to understand that our actions have both negative and positive repercussions on our environment and our lives.

The outcome of these sessions will feed into the Conference on the Future of Europe, to build together with children healthier, resilient, fairer, and equal societies for all.

Background
In the European Union, children account for almost one in five people. Just like other citizens, children should enjoy the same rights and be able to live in societies where they can fulfil their potential and play an active role in shaping their own future and that of future generations. They are as much the citizens and leaders of today as they are the leaders of tomorrow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and inequalities and created new ones. Children have been exposed to increased domestic violence and online abuse and exploitation, cyberbullying and more child sexual abuse material has been shared online. The shift to distance learning disproportionately affected very young children, those with special needs, those living in poverty, and those with limited or no access to internet connections and IT equipment. Many children lost their most nutritious daily meal, as well as access to services that schools provide. The pandemic also strongly affected children’s mental health, with a reported increase in anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Many could not participate in sports, leisure, artistic and cultural activities that are essential for their development and well-being.

These realities call for the need to put children and their best interests at the heart of EU policies developed together with and for children. Therefore, in light of the ongoing process with regards the Conference of the Future of the EU, it is important to allow children to have the right space to be able to put forward their own aspirations and ideas on the future they would like to live in.

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