LETTER: Celebrate World Children’s Day Saturday

Dear Jason, World Children’s Day, November 20th, is just around the corner. Designated by the United Nations in 1954, it was launched to promote the wellbeing, and rights protection, of all children. Here in Prince Edward County, where too many children still face food insecurity, lack of proper housing, lower school graduation rates, high numbers of teen pregnancy, etc., we also see wonderful adults (often volunteers) stepping up to deal with, and rectify, those problems.

The HUB Child & Family Centre, our ROC, Reaching For Rainbows, County Kids Read, just to name a few brilliant community commitments. But our community also remembers the Indigenous residential schools made mandatory between 1894-1947: and the abuses and trauma encountered by almost 160,000 young ones aged 4-16… many of them related to our Mohawk neighbours.

Perhaps less well known, or fully appreciated, is the roughly 100,000 British Home Children sent here in the 1860s through to 1948; their only “crime” being poverty back in the UK. In Canada, and in Quinte, most of these children – torn from intact families – became indentured farm workers and over-worked domestics… some of their children and grandchildren live among us today in The County… mostly keeping to themselves harsh family stories of mistreatment. Incredibly, it’s estimated that roughly 10 per cent of our Canadian population today are descendants of these young and forced British migrants.

It also seems poignant that World Children’s Day falls within our Remembrance Day month… November. Especially in today’s world where, as you read this, over 420 million children are impacted by war… as orphans, slaves and child soldiers. The good news is that progress is being made and World Children’s Day, Purple Ribbons, and Orange Shirts are all symbolic proof.

And our PEC… through the actions of entities like The County Foundation, 100 People Who Care, and others… speaks volumes as to how this municipality resists victimhood and embraces doing something real about issues.

After all, as Keith Moon’s venerable lyrics go… “the kids are alright!”.

Sincerely,

Bill Roberts

Councillor – Sophiasburgh