Dr M. Munir A. Safieldin, the UNICEF Country Representative to the Maldives, has paid a courtesy call on First Lady Fazna Ahmed. The call took place this morning at Mulee'aage, the Official Residence of the President of the Maldives.
First Lady Fazna Ahmed extended warm greetings to Dr Safieldin upon his arrival at Mulee’aage, and discussed avenues to further cooperate and address issues pertinent to children and young people in the community. The discussions were focused on three main areas; addressing the issue of young people’s mental health and mental well-being, promoting tranquillity and well-being of children living in State homes, and advocating for better conditions for children in detention.
Speaking on the first issue, First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Dr Safieldin stressed on the things that negatively impact the mental well-being of many young people; including bullying, peer pressure, stress resulting from parental disputes and pressure for academic excellence. They emphasised on the need to encourage and educate parents to listen to the mental health concerns of their children and guide them to support their concerned children and seek professional help as needed. Dr Safieldin proposed to the First Lady to lead engagements with young people, teachers and parents, and on public platforms to share concerns and raise awareness regarding the mental well-being of the youth.
On the issue of promoting the well-being of children living in State homes, First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Dr Safieldin spoke about the growing challenges faced by the two State Homes for Children. They further discussed ways to address the challenges, including the introduction of impartial parties for the children to listen to in order to defuse the situation and provide much-needed calm and normalcy for the children.
Addressing on advocating for better conditions for children in detention, First Lady Fazna Ahmed and Dr Safieldin discussed ways to expedite the passing of the Juvenile Justice Bill and Child Rights Protection Bill into law. They further spoke about the need to improve the conditions of detention of juvenile offenders, promote restorative justice that allows young offenders a second chance in life, focus on juvenile crime prevention, and promote post-release care and social reintegration services for juveniles released from detention.
The First Lady thanked Dr Safieldin and UNICEF for the platform that they are offering and expressed keen interest in engaging with the wider community to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people in the Maldives.