jeudi 15 avril 2010

Don't Hit my brother

A 9-year old boy has stuck up for his brother by saying no to violence against children and by speaking out against a violent act thanks to Plan publications that he read.

Mr. Zato is a father and mechanic who received Plan brochures on protecting children’s rights. Included in the pack of brochures were:
1. “Break the silence against violence”, from the 1st campaign of the VAC project.
2. Issue 100 of Planète jeunes, with the “La violence, c’est mal…dénonce-la” brochure.
3. The latest issue of Planète enfants.

Discussions took place with Mr. Zato to help him retain as much of the brochures’ content as possible.

This father of 3, whose children are 7, 9 and 12, also received the “Aïe, ca fait mal” and “Je suis un enfant et j’ai des droits” comic strips, as well as other documents that his children would find easy to read.

The surprise of his life
Half way through January this year, Mr Zato went away for a week for a relative’s funeral in the village where he was born. He was so surprised when upon his return he found a summons from his town’s chief, who was pressing for an answer.

The town chief told him that whilst he was away, his 9 year old son came to complain about how his 7 year old brother was hit by a young man, because he kicked the young man’s football. Mr Zato’s 9 year old son held his brother’s hand, which was in tears.

When asked what he wanted the town chief to do, his 9 year old son said that violence against children is not allowed, and that he had read this in the Plan brochures that his dad had brought home. He also asked for his younger brother to be taken to hospital.

Changing attitudes
The town chief complied by sending the 7 year old boy to the doctors. Both children later came back with a medical bill of 25,000CFA (US$52). The young man that hit the 7 year old was placed in custody until his parents brought in the medicine prescribed by the doctors.

What’s more, Mr. Zato’s 9 year old son insisted that the young man be kept in custody longer as punishment, or else he would go to the police station to report it.

After he presented the facts, the town chief brought the young man in from an adjacent room.

Mr. Zato was amazed, especially since he had always taught his children to be submissive. He brought his 9 year old son back to see the town chief, and asked him to withdraw his complaint so the young man, who had been in custody for 48 hours, could be released.

On the way back home, Mr. Zato was bursting with joy and pride. Thanks to Pierrot, his 9 year old son, things were going to change in his town. People would now think twice before raising their hand against someone else’s child. Pierrot had become an example of bravery for his friends.

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