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Barnardos Shares Children’s Dreams For The Decade To Mark World Children’s Day 2020

Barnardos is today marking World Children’s Day 2020 with the launch of the “Dreams for the Decade Online Gallery”, showcasing artwork and poetry by New Zealand children expressing their dreams for the next decade.

The launch of the Gallery at www.dreamsforthedecade.nz, along with the announcement of the top entries shared by children and young people, is the culmination of a year-long participatory initiative. Dreams for the Decade provides a positive platform for children and young people to share their hopes and dreams for this decade.

Every year, World Children’s Day is celebrated globally as a chance to highlight and to inspire the advocacy, promotion and celebration of children’s rights. Barnardos Chief Executive Mike Munnelly says that “at Barnardos, because we work with children and young people every day around Aotearoa, we know that having aspirations, dreams and hopes for the future is something all tamariki and rangatahi in our country should be able to have. In light of the year that 2020 has turned out to be, placing a focus on children and young people’s hopes and dreams for their lives and futures is crucial. Capturing some of those through Dreams for the Decade and being able to share them across Aotearoa is a privilege.”

Barnardos launched Dreams for the Decade at the start of 2020. Despite the setbacks presented by COVID-19, diverse tamariki and rangatahi took up the open invitation to participate and express themselves. 138 entries from children and young people and groups of school students across the country were received, including paintings, sculptures, poems, raps and video.

“The launch of this online gallery is a wonderful celebration of what World Children’s Day stands for,” says Dr Claire Achmad, Barnardos’ General Manager Advocacy. She says that “it is the right of every child and young person to have the things that matter to them in their lives heard, and to participate in their lives, communities and Aotearoa. The moemoeā expressed by tamariki and rangatahi through Dreams for the Decade are inspiring and a call to action for collective change, including on issues such as inequality, poverty, homelessness, systemic racism and the sustainability of our planet.”

Dr Achmad says that the feedback received from teachers and social workers who have supported students to participate in the Dreams for the Decade project is that it has opened up many new insights into what their students are thinking about and what matters to them in 2020. Participants themselves have talked about the positive impact the project has had on them this year. She says the Dreams for the Decade entries are “a reminder that childhood and adolescence are relatively brief but formative times in life. While children and young people are in that special time of life, they should get to experience the magic of being a child and enjoy their lives. By listening and engaging with their art and poetry entries and the ideas they have expressed, we send Aotearoa’s youngest generation a positive message that their dreams matter, have value, and can help make change for the better.”

Throughout the Gallery are art and poetry creations flagged as ‘Top Entries’, which are particularly powerful pieces in their depth, process and expression. These were selected by Barnardos and Guest Judges, internationally acclaimed young illustrator and writer Ruby Jones, and celebrated New Zealand poet Leilani Tamu. Leilani Tamu says that “across all of the age categories and entries received as part of Dreams for a Decade I observed a powerful common thread: hope for a future that is more inclusive, equitable and kind. The responsibility is now on us, all of us, to lean in and help realise this shared dream”.

Ruby Jones says that “Dreams for the Decade was a very special project to be a part of.” Ruby says she was deeply impressed by the children and young people who have participated, stating that “it warmed my heart to see how brave, thoughtful and kind our future generations already are at such a young age. I hope this competition can continue to grow and expand for many years to come.”

Barnardos encourages all members of the public to view the entries in the Dreams for the Decade Online Gallery at dreamsforthedecade.org.nz. As noted by Leilani Tamu, “now more than ever, listening to the voices of our young people is critical as we collectively look to an uncertain future and try to grapple with so many complex challenges.”

Every child and young person who has participated will be receiving a special certificate and small gift acknowledging their participation and efforts, and the Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern has recorded a special video message acknowledging participants efforts (this can be viewed here). Top entries are receiving special prizes aligned with their interests, thanks to the support of a range of generous partners who have supported the project, including Bluestar, Fusion5, CCL, Noel Leeming, Honey Sticks, Te Papa Press, Massey University Press and Unity Books. Barnardos says that in support of the kaupapa, it is exploring avenues to get the entries of tamariki and rangatahi out into the community around Aotearoa over summer, so more people can see and hear about their ideas, including through community based exhibitions and a forthcoming publication which will be distributed into community spaces.

Visit the Online Gallery and view all entries now: www.dreamsforthedecade.nz and on Instagram @dreamsforthedecade.

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