Latviski English По-русски
Monday 25.09.2017 | Name days: Rauls, Rodrigo

Unusual Children’s Day celebration in Lithuania: children swarm legislative chambers

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Ahead of the International Children’s Day on June 1 an unusual conference was held in Lithuanian Parliament, Seimas – all the speakers were children and the adults stayed in the stands dumbstruck by the youngsters’ insightful observations on politics and the take on the politicians.

«Indeed, children reflect the adults’ world very authentically, yet I’ve never noticed that children would employ the theme of politics into their games, for example,» Biruta Mažrimienė, former director of kindergarten in the town of Palanga, told BNN.

Behind the Seimas event stood Mykolas Romeris University’s Institute of Educology and Social Work, as well as Seimas’ Human Rights Committee, JSC «Šviesa» and «Gelbėkite vaikus» («Salvage children»), an NGO.

The event’s spearheads could not bargain for me – having swarmed the legislative chambers, the children stunned all with candour, sincerity and insightfulness. Those who could not make it to Vilnius had sent their strongly worded messages by regular mail or through emails. Some of the littlest, who still struggle to read, sent their drawings – 260 of them were received by the conference staff.

Given the opportunity to address the country’s lawmakers directly, the youngsters- some of them were as young as four – chided, rebuked and even poked fun at the MPs and, importantly, urged them to tackle children-related issues seriously.

Many of the young participants, however, needed a special elevation to reach the brims of the parliamentary stand and the microphone.

«As you could be our uncles and aunts, although in legislature, which, by the way, seems so remote to many ordinary people, children, too, I’d like you to more often pay visit to the unhappy children and help them. Are you asking how? Bring them some gifts, take them for a ride, bake them a pie at your home, make some tea, sit down with them and talk. Maybe, at the end of the day, you will feel like becoming their foster parents. I ask you this very much,» Eva, a 10-year-old girl from Žemaičių Naumiestis in the Šilutė district, pleaded with the awe-stricken mum parliamentarians in the stands.

And then there was the impassionate speech by Benas, a seven-year-old from the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda.  In an attempt to muster some help for peers who do not have both  or a single parent, or because the begetters toil abroad to support the family, the boy drew a comparison between death and Harry Potter, the young magician from the best-selling-author Joanne Rowling’s wizardry books.

«Death is such a thing that cannot be replaced or changed and the deceased cannot be brought back through magic. If there appeared a man like Harry Potter, maybe he would be able to do it. If I had his powers, I would first dole out money for children who do not have their own home and whose parents are jobless. Many of the parents, therefore, go to work to foreign lands, like Norway, England and Ireland. I’d also help senile people who struggle to walk, who are short of cash for delicious food and who cannot afford clothing and medicine,» Benas’ speech made some adults to wipe away tears.

In the group of a little elder children, Deimantė, a 12-year-old adolescent, from Alytus in southern Lithuanian, addressed all on a very acid issue – the lack of communication between parents and their offspring.

«Dear adults! What do you do in order to halt this highly contagious virtual «virus”? How many efforts do you invest into communicating with your children? By the way, talking to your own children does no cost anything…Do devout just a couple of minutes for us, your children, and you will see soon, that the minutes turn into hours and so on…Try to alter the virtual world of the mobile phone screen, the TV set and radio into the real one…It is worth trying, isn’t it?» the teenage girl asked rhetorically.

And there were dozen speeches of the kind – ones very passionate and heart-wrenching, all of which kept the adults in the stands mum and often teary.

«Although children issues are broadly discussed in the public and different settings, children themselves are not invited to the events usually. And if children voice their opinion, no one effectively turns ear to what they say. We wanted a different discussion – with adolescents talking and their begetters and educators listening to them,» Brigita Kairienė, associate professor at Mykolas Romeris University’s Institute of Educology and Social Work said.

The children also spoke about domestic violence, unemployment, complicated relations with parents and teachers, generational misunderstandings, social seclusion, uncertainty and even the never-ending education reforms.

The resolve of the Lithuanian government to prolong school year has garnered the children’s particularly big attention.

«Although I like being at school, however, I say a strict NO to the prolongation. The smart people of authority have commenced reforming the system not from the right end…Dear legislators, do start it from changing the current educational programme. Do pay attention to what, we pupils and teachers have to say about your plans. For a single reason – we’re dealing with it daily,» Ugnė, a 17-year-old from Vievis, emphasised.

«Indeed, some of the children’s insights have shaken up many and made to rethink many things. The adolescent thoughts or the childish drawings reflect the relations between them and the adults, as well as their feelings, understanding of the world, problems and emotions,» Kairienė noted.

Some of the zingers under the article on the conference showed the impact of the event.

«Indeed, the children’s reasoning has shaken me, just because I’m hearing downright the same from all the Lithuanian journalists, retirees and public commentators. It seems that there are no adults in Lithuania. The most horrible thing to me is that not the parents accuse their children of being immersed in virtual life, but the children blame their parents for that. That they miss alive communication with the parents. Very sad, indeed,»  Ilona said in her the comment.

With over 20 years as a preschool teacher and director of kindergarten in Palanga, Biruta Mažrimienė, is not surprised at all by children’s candour and sincerity.

«What sets children apart the adults is that children reflect the surroundings directly, their language is devoid of diplomacy and bypassing certain subjects. Children, even preschoolers, often comment on politicians and their malfeasances, yet children do not like enact them in their games or creation,»the educator emphasised to BNN.

Her twin preschool grandsons, she says, know very well the president of Lithuania and each have their opinion about her.

«The other politicians are well behind in the popularity, at least for the two,» Mažrimienė smiled.«Both understand that politicians are very influential and a lot is hinged on them».

Ref: 020/


Leave a reply

BNN summary of the week: Vējoņis’ authority under fire and Loginovs ordered to repay illegal donations

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Fight; Truth; Business; Future; Growth and Opinion.

Kariņš: Unity started drifting when Valdis Dombrovskis left is management

Unity should seriously consider the option of starting in Saeima elections alongside other parties, said MEP Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

CSP: average size of agricultural areas increases in Latvia

In 2016 the average size of agricultural holding constituted 43.2 ha, which is 15.5 % more than in 2013 when the average land area per holding accounted for 37.4 ha. The total standard output has risen by 24.5 %. Nevertheless, the number of economically active farms has reduced by 14.5 %.

Antāne forms a new political party in Ventspils with more than 350 associates

A new political party was founded in Ventspils this Thursday, 21 September. The name of this new party is Laiks Pārmaiņām (Time for Changes). The initiator of the founding of this new party is Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

NATO: suspicions about Zapad 2017 were justified

NATO views its suspicions about Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises as well-justified, because their scale and geography were larger than what was officially stated.

Expert: Latvia’s electronic industry productivity index on a rise

Electronics industry is the most rapidly growing processing industry in Latvia. This industry’s turnover growth in Latvia has been more rapid than that of Europe and the rest of Baltic States, says manager of wholesale trade company Lemona Latvija Sergejs Nikiforovs.

Video: How to make white-water rafting more dangerous?

If you think white-water rafting is a piece of cake, you can try getting over some rapids on six rafts.

Kaimiņš: Lembergs is Latvia’s biggest misfortune

It is no secret to anyone that the parliamentary committee in charge of investigating Oligarch case has so-called experts that are closely associated with infamous Ventspils politician Aivars Lembergs or his family. In an interview to BNN, Saeima member Artuss Kaimiņš shared his opinion about the latest scandalous development associated with Oligarch talks. He calls Lembergs Latvia’s biggest misfortune.

EC: Money for Rail Baltica in next period will be negotiated

Funding of the Rail Baltica railway project after the year 2020 will be negotiated upon as part of the EU's financial plan for the next period, has stated the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport.

Sudraba published «false information» on parliamentary committee’s website

Parliamentarian Andrejs Judins asks to evaluate Inguna Sudraba’s possible breach of ethics with the publication of ‘false information’ on the website of Saeima’s parliamentary investigation committee responsible for the investigation of oligarch case.

Estonia plans to direct 300 million euros to healthcare

With the aim of improving the quality and access to Estonian healthcare, the country's government has backed amendments, which set forth increasing healthcare funding by 300 million over a period of five years

HTC agrees to sell part of its innovators and intellectual property to Google

U.S. computer technology firm Google has reached a deal with Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC so that the latter would share part of its product development team and allow using HTC intellectual property.

22-year sentence for Imanta paedophile comes into force

With the Supreme Court of Justice abandoning the review of Riga Regional Court’s ruling, the 22-year sentence for the man prosecuted in the so-called Imanta paedophile case has come into force, as reported by the court.

Weekend in Latvia expected to be warm and sunny

The sky in Latvia will become clear during the day on Friday, 22 September. Rain is only expected to come to certain western areas. Air temperature will likely reach +16° C… +20° C, whereas air temperature at night will drop to +9° C… +14° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

UK to offer EU 20 billion euros, if it can remain in single market

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to offer a transitional agreement with the European Union that would concern a two-year period until the country leaves the bloc in 2019.

Number of bankruptcies down in Latvia and Estonia but up in Lithuania

Last year, the number of bankruptcies declined 12.4% in Latvia and 10.9% in Estonia. Lithuania, on the other hand, had experienced a 35.2% increase in the number of bankrupt companies, according to information compiled by Coface.

Lithuania sets off alarm bells over quality of international brands' foods

What Lithuania‘s State Food and Veterinary service announced last Tuesday was big news in Lithuania, but not so of a discovery to the majority of Eastern European consumers - food of international brands sold in Western Europe and in Eastern Europe, and Lithuania, are not just the same.

Saeima forms a group to support HIV and tuberculosis patients

On Thursday, 21 September, Latvia’s Saeima agreed with deputy Hosams Abu Meri’s proposal to form a deputy group to support HIV and tuberculosis patients, as confirmed by Abu Meri’s assistant Edgars Ikstens.

Politologist comments whether Vējoņis’ authority is at risk or not

Saeima’s vote in which Latvian President Raimonds Vējoņis’ proposal on the status of non-citizens’ children was not pushed forward was as though a strike against the president’s authority, comments Filips Rajevskis.

In pictures: Mexicans rush to find quake survivors

A massive rescue effort is continuing in Mexico City and other areas in Mexico to find possible survivors caught under buildings that collapsed in the September 19 earthquake, which has killed no less than 237 people.

Producer prices in industry grew 0.1% in August

Compared to July, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.1 % in August 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market, as well as those of exported products grew by 0.1 %.

Saeima supports simplification of investigation of less serious crimes

On Thursday, 21 September, Latvia’s Saeima conceptually supported changes to the Criminal Process Law that provide for simplification of investigation procedures of less serious crimes.

Ozoliņš: transit and logistics industries should communicate more actively

Mutual communication and information exchange among businesses working in the industry is the pre-condition for improvement of Latvia’s transit industry, said Transport Ministry’s state secretary Kaspars Ozoliņš at a meeting of the Logistics Council.

As Estonia mends ID cyber vulnerability, officials recommended mobile ID

As Estonia tries to solve potential security risks found in the chips of 750,000 national ID cards, state officials using e-services have been recommended to Mobile-ID in addition to ID cards.

Vējonis: peaceful resolution of Ukraine’s conflict is Latvia’s priority

«Russia’s unjustified aggression towards its neighbours is a serious breach of international law. Any aggressor who begins and continues such conflicts should be brought to justice for breach of international law,» says Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis.