Norwegian Minister visits NGO


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The Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality, Solveig Horne, is in Rio for the Paralympic Games.

The Minister represented the Norwegian government during the Opening Ceremony on Maracanã on September 7, and will be present to support several Norwegian athletes during the Paralympic Games.

A visits to the Norwegian NGO Karanba and to the Norwegian Church in Gávea are also on her agenda. On September 9, she will represent Norway in a Nordic reception at the Fort of Copacabana.

Violence against children
On her very first day in Rio, Solveig Horne visited an NGO in the Cantagalo community in Rio de Janeiro, run by Viva Rio.

«Espaço Criança Esperança» offers several sport activities, workshops, courses and help with homework to about 500 children in the neighborhood. Since its foundation in 2001, about 8000 children have taken part in some kind of activities at the centre.

Violence against children is something that Minister Horne is taking a special interest in. Later this year, she will launch a new action plan on the subject back in Norway, and how to prevent violence against children and what is being done to protect women and children in Brazil, is something she wanted to learn more about.

«Violence against children, and how to prevent and intervene at an early stage, is a priority on my political agenda. Even though there are big differences between Brazil and Norway, we still have important things to learn from each other», Minister Horne says.

According to an overview presented to the Minister, 28 adolescents or children are murdered every davy in Brazil. The suicide rate among children and adolescents is also growing. The lack of targeted actions and policies speaks to a serious neglect from the national, state and municipal levels, according to the presentation.

The visit was organized by Viva Rio, represented by founder and anthropologist Rubem César Fernandes and by the Igarapé Institute, a think and do tank represented by research director Robert Muggah.

Rede Nacional Primeira Infância (RNPI) was also represented. This network brings together over 200 civil society organizations and works to promote children´s rights.

Minister Horne received a tour, and learned that the building at the top of the Cantagalo community, was actually built as a hotel and casino back in the 1970-s. Today, an elementary school and a school offering different kinds of professionalizing courses are also located in the building.

«This space has been under our management for 15 years», Rubem César Fernandes explained.

The Igarapé Institute coordinates something called the Child Security Index, a project that tracks the experiences of children in violence-affected areas, and valuable experiences were shared in the presentations and discussions that followed the tour.

«It has been very inspiring to meet with the youngsters and the people doing such an important work for children at risk. I will take this knowledge with me back home to Norway», Minister Horne says.

The Norwegian delegations counts 25 athletes competing in 10 different disciplines. In London, Norway won 3 gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals. Swimmer Sarah Louise Rung alone won 2 gold medals and two silver medals and before the Paralympics, she has stated that her goal for the Rio Games is to top the Norway´s accomplishments in August and win even more medals this time.

By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist