Tuesday, December 13, 2016

UNICEF’s 70th anniversary celebrated with a call “For Every Child, Love and Care” in Timor-Leste



Dili, 12 Dec, 2016: With a call “For Every Child, Love and Care”- the Government of Timor-Leste hosted a celebration of UNICEF’s 70th anniversary with renewed commitment to ensure love and care for every child. A musical concert, photo exhibition as well as a release of 70 balloons and a brief display of fireworks marked the anniversary of UNICEF held in Dili, Timor-Leste.

Releasing 70 balloons to mark the 70th anniversary of UNICEF by H.E. Nelio Isaac Sarmento, the Secretary of State for Social Communication, Maria Baretto, Child Rights Commissioner of Timor-Leste, UN Resident Coordinator Knut Ostby and Desiree Jongsma.  @UNICEF Timor-Leste/2016/ Clementino
The Secretary of State for Social Communication, in partnership with UNICEF, organised the concert, involving performances by famous Timorese singers, artists and band groups in order to celebrate this special event. In between songs and performances, musicians called upon parents, caregivers, and teachers to ensure a violence-free, loving and caring environment for all Timorese children. The event was broadcast on television and radio, reaching around 80 per cent population of the country.

Congratulating UNICEF for its extraordinary work for children around the world and in Timor-Leste, Nelio Isaac Sarmento, the Secretary of State for Social Communication, the Government of Timor-Leste in his inaugural speech expressed his appreciation for UNICEF’s valuable contributions for children and women of Timor-Leste. His speech was echoed by the audiences during the event with slogan “UNICEF Hadomi Labarik, Viva UNICEF,”  and round of applause, in the local language which means “UNICEF love Children, long live UNICEF.”

Amongst the several dignitaries attending were also the Child Rights Commissioner and the UN Resident Coordinator. 

In a brief speech in a local language (Tetum), Desiree Jongsma, the UNICEF Representative highlighted, “Every child should enjoy protection, receive health services, adequate nutrition, and get the opportunity to learn in a child-friendly environment, be it is in Dili or any remote village of Timor-Leste”. In addition, she added that this anniversary entails a good moment for reflection, while “We look ahead, with hope and determination, to a better future and a fair chance for all the world’s children”. She called upon all present to work together to ensure health, nutrition, education and protection for every child, with love and compassion.

Photo Exhibition: Bringing History Alive
The photo exhibition of UNICEF’s work at the event brought alive memories about the past to many of the Timorese. As one of the youngest countries in the world, the memories of the struggle for independence is still vivid in many Timorese’ minds attended the concert.  Joao da Costa, UNICEF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and an earlier freedom fighter himself became rather emotional while he saw his own photo with Carol Bellamy, former UNICEF Executive Director, at the exhibition. “It was 2002 in Manatuto where we were attending a ceremony of rehabilitation of Maabat Primary School which was burnt during the conflict in 1999. During that time UNICEF provided support to rehabilitate schools in many places. At that point, I was working as UNICEF Education Officer at UNICEF Sub-Office for Matebian Region which covered Baucau Manatuto, Viqueque and Lautem districts.” Filled with emotion, holding his little daughter on his arm, Joao remembered the struggle of liberation war.

 Joao da Costa, UNICEF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and an earlier freedom fighter himself became rather emotional while he saw his own photo with Carol Bellamy, former UNICEF Executive Director, at the exhibition.@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2016/Clementino 

 The Child Rights Commissioner, Mery Barreto, was seen leading a group of children explaining them about the photos presented at the exhibition.
The Child Rights Commissioner, Maria Baretto, explaining a photo took in 2001 to a group of children while Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste also joined to the group. 
Photo credit:@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2016/ Clementino
 

 The exhibition was organised as a side event at the concert venue and illustrated UNICEF works in Timor-Leste and around the world.

Songs and Dances- Brave the Rain
The concert began with a favourite song of “When the children cry…” sung by Baby Keyla, followed by famous artists one by one including Lola and Oggy Ozman. Mesmerised performances of the artists braved the sudden torrent rain, children, adult irrespective of age joined dancing and singing.
1691: Mesmerised performance of singer Keyla and her group during the concert. 
Photo credit: @UNICEF Timor-Leste/2016/ DMonemnasi
 
During the event, the evening skyline of Dili briefly turned spectacular and colourful as the firework began with a festive mood while releasing 70 balloons with a plaque card on 70th Anniversary of UNICEF. The singers sang John Lennon’s famous “Imagine” song to remind everyone about the importance of love and care in today’s world.

-Arifa S. Sharmin
Communication Specialist