Press release

Reflections from the Ambassador for Woman and Children on the Occasion of Children’s Day, June 1st 2013

May 31, 2013

Following the UN General Assembly recommendation that all countries should establish a Universal Children’s Day on an “appropriate” day, Seychelles decided on June 1st, a day, firstly to celebrate the special human beings that children are, and secondly, to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children.

On this June 1st 2013, as the Seychelles Ambassador for Women and Children, I thought it important to remember, that children around the globe have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. In some countries children are used as labourers, some are immersed in armed conflict, others are displaced and living on the streets, whilst others are suffering because of differences in religion, minority issues, or disabilities. The physical and emotional or psychological trauma that these children suffer everyday, is indescribable. One only has to watch the daily international news to see this suffering and try and imagine what they are going through.

Our children are amongst the lucky ones and on this day dedicated to them, we must be grateful for the universal health care and education that they enjoy in our beloved country. Every child is able to attend school and receive an education gratis. So many children elsewhere can only dream of getting a plate of food and being able to wake up and go to school each morning. This brings to mind a Thai saying that states, “Children are the future of the nation, if the children are intelligent, the country will be prosperous.” I am sure we all believe that, and should strive to give our children every opportunity to show us the future that we dream of, for Seychelles!

This is not to say that we have done enough for our children and we should be satisfied. As a society we must work to continually engrain our instinctual protection of our children. We can and should do more to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected. We must provide the safest environment for them and we must create opportunities for them to flourish, not just in our homes but also around the world.

Having recently returned from the United States, (Seattle Washington to be exact) where together with 12 Seychellois children, we were able to participate in an International Children’s Friendship Festival amongst over 30 other nationalities, I am reminded again of how blessed and talented our children really are. Children in Seychelles live and thrive in a peaceful and beautiful country. They are able to love and enjoy life within an extended family, and are generally treasured and cherished by all, and are taught very early on to be concerned about their country and especially their environment.

To the dear children of Seychelles, today on this day that we all celebrate you, and give thanks for the future we see in you, let us join together to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves. Let us give thanks to our family who share every day with us, and let us thank our community leaders for all that they teach us and do for us, every single day.

To all parents and families, remember this: “While we try to teach our children all about Life… Our Children teach us what Life is all about….. On this occasion.. give your precious one’s the priceless gift of Time…”


Happy Children’s Day !!!!


Dr. Erna H. Athanasius MD FAAP

Seychelles Ambassador for Women and Children.


Historical Note: International Day for Protection of Children, observed in many countries as Children’s Day on June 1 since 1950, was established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation on its congress in Moscow (22 November 1949).