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Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI) recently hosted its 4th “Conference on Child Rights & Sight”. This exciting, high profile event took place on September 28, 2013 at Yale University to coincide with ‘Child Rights Week’ and ‘World Sight Day’. The day was filled with wide-ranging educational talks by dynamic speakers on issues affecting children, followed by an evening of networking.
The goal of the conference was to focus global attention on the topics of child rights and blindness prevention and provide a platform for addressing these pressing issues. It brings together concerned citizens and activists from the Yale community, the United States, and around the world to share their successes in the field of child rights and learn about current issues affecting the world’s children.
This year’s conference was inaugurated by Dr. Brian Debroff, President of DCI, and featured more than 30 distinguished speakers, including Lynda Diane Mull (Executive Director, International Initiative to End Child Labor), Farzana Kashfi (Senior Manager, Education Program at BRAC), Dr. Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat (Professor of Political Science, UCONN), Diane Geraghty, J.D. (Kathleen Beazley Chair in Children’s Law and Director, Civitas ChildLaw Center, Loyola University, Chicago), Dr. Anita Weinberg, J.D./MSW (Clinical Professor and Director, ChildLaw Policy Institute, Civitas ChildLaw Center and Director, Lead Safe Illinois, Loyola University Chicago School of Law), Dr. Jane Aronson (Founder, Worldwide Orphans Foundation), Dr. Xi Chen (Assistant Professor of Public Health, Yale University), Prof. Tirtha Prasad Mishra (Chairman of Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh – National Society for Comprehensive Eye Care), Dr. Tikiri Nimal Herath (Professor of Economics, University of Sri Jayewardenepura), Matthew D. Kaye, PhD (Director of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning, Sacred Heart University), and Professor Lalneih Zovi (Department of Public Administration, Mizoram University, India). DCI patron and prominent eye surgeon Syed Wadud also joined the conference as Chief Guest.
In addition to the speakers above, the conference offered an opportunity for many students and volunteers to discuss their experiences volunteering at DCI’s projects and encourage others to get involved. These presentations included a heart-warming presentation on the remarkable progress made by former street orphans now sheltered at DCI’s Sun Child Home in Dhaka. The audience witnessed several videos and photographs that brought the living conditions at Dhaka’s Kallyanpur slum into clear view. This was accompanied by a strong message of hope in a video illustrating how DCI’s medical clinic provides desperately needed healthcare to slum residents.
DCI Executive Director, Dr. Hoque said, “DCI is an organization with grassroots experience that understands and works against situations that obstruct children’s rights. This conference offers us and others a platform to amplify the voice of underprivileged children and garner support for this cause. We are privileged to hear from many wonderful contributors, ¬activists, campaigners, doctors and volunteers¬ who have worked very hard at improving life for so many people. As the Executive Director of DCI, I am eager to learn about their successes and challenges, and how we can benefit from their experiences. I am also pleased to see such large youth participation, which indicates our efforts to inspire and involve the next generation of humanitarian leaders have been successful. I wish to thank the conference organizers, volunteers, and all other participants for making this initiative such a resounding success.”
Prof. Tirtha Prasad Mishra (Chairman of NNJS – National Society for Comprehensive Eye Care, Nepal) said, “The DCI Conference has enabled me to meet thinkers and innovators in the field from all over the world who are transforming innovation into action and changing the world. This conference offers a fresh perspective on global child rights and health issues and I am eagerly looking forward to attend the next conference.”
Dr. Jane Aronson (Founder, Worldwide Orphans Foundation), further commented that “DCI’s Conference on Child Rights & Sight is a tremendous gathering of thinkers and beautiful minds who are making the world better all the way from the grassroots level to the world’s largest organizations. I like the variety of the topics at the conference and having full access to everyone who attends. It is a great opportunity to meet to rising college student stars and high profile change makers.”