Children's rights stitched into quilt

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A two-metre square quilt designed and produced by Traveller parents and children has been unveiled in Belfast as a celebration of children’s rights.

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Traveller families across Northern Ireland contributed to the quilt

Traveller families from all over Northern Ireland took part in making the quilt as part of the Toybox project, which works in partnership with Traveller communities.

The quilt will now be displayed across the country to reflect the voices and values of individual parents and families registered on the project.

Unveiled by Early Years on Human Rights Day on 10 December, the charity hopes the quilt will be a reminder of the human rights of every child under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

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Toybox is an outreach play-based early intervention service, which works to reduce the social and education inequalities experienced by young Traveller children aged up to four years.

It is run by Early Years, the largest organisation for young children in Northern Ireland, and aims to:

  • enhance the social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development of Traveller children from birth to four years
  • maximise the participation of Traveller children aiming for at least one year’s pre-school/nursery provision
  • encourage Traveller families to engage in local community groups including SureStart programmes
  • empower Traveller parents to support their children’s wellbeing and eagerness to learn

The Traveller community is a distinct ethnic group within Irish society and can experience marginalisation and social exclusion due to both their different lifestyle and culture, and discrimination from settled society.

The quilt also celebrates the 50th anniversary this year of Early Years.

The charity was set up by Belfast mothers in 1965 to promote playgroups and now helps more than 30,000 children.

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