For the third and last day we went to Save the Childrens office. There we found out that they had invited a professor, Dainius Puras as a guest speaker. Dainius works in the centre of Child Psychiatry and social Pediatrics at Vilnius University. He explained the context around the belief in Lithuania, that care institutions for children who that lack to have a good social environment, is the best option rather than finding a foster family.
After listening and learning more about Lithuanian history it is easy to understand that a change away from the system of institutional care will not happen over a night.
After lunch we had the great chance to witness a special event outside the parliament. On the big square outside the parliament a big group had gathered. There was media journalist, national TV, lots of kids, Save the Children and then we. The goal was to raise awareness and that there is other options than to educate a child then with a belt. The children from the different day care centres contributed with 141 hands in paper, one for each parliamentarian. And on the hands the children wrote what they wished for in the future.
Next week there will be a voting regarding legalization against child abuse. Let´s hope that the power of the children´s many hands can make a difference.
The hands are being handed over to a member of the parliament, with Rasa Dicpetriene, Save the Children Lithuania, and Ulla Armyr Save the Children Sweden.
We are so thankful for being able to join this trip and we have learned so much. In the same time with the new knowledge, we can also tell that Lithuania as many other countries have a long way still to go. But every small step contributes to the big change that we so hope for.
Us together with some of the children outside parliament.
Over and out…
Rasika & Gisele