Championing the Child with ‘Champion of the Child’

11 May 2009 News

“From tragedy comes inspiration” – exhibition on the life of a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto

AN EXHIBITION on the work of a Polish pioneer of children’s rights has opened at the Waterside Theatre backed by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and Young at Art, organiser of the Belfast Children’s Festival.

The launch of the exhibition will coincide with Polish Cultural Week which runs from May 7 to May 13.

‘Champion of the Child’ tells the story of Janusz Korczak whose writings and ideas on the subject of children’s rights were adopted by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Korczak tried to protect children from the horrors of a Warsaw ghetto in the Second World War before his death in Treblinka concentration camp.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, is delighted to partner with Young at Art to bring the story of Janusz Korczak to children and young people in Northern Ireland.

“We wanted to mark Polish Cultural Week by celebrating the story of one of Poland’s greatest writers on the subject of children’s rights,” said Ms Lewsley.

“This is an exceptional exhibition which shows how you can find inspiration even from tragedy.”

“Janusz Korzcak’s life story is remarkable and demonstrates how we must never forget that the ideas behind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were forged before and during the horrors of the Second World War.”

The exhibition was developed by the Jewish Museum London and will be one of the many attractions at the 12th annual Belfast Children’s Festival which will be touring throughout Northern Ireland. The tour will include the Waterside Theatre, Derry; Belfast Waterfront; Strule Arts Centre, Omagh; Fermanagh County Museum, Enniskillen; and Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, from May 10 to July 10 2009.

To accompany the exhibition, the two organisations have developed a drama workshop facilitated by NICCY’s participation officers which explores and conveys the concept of the UNCRC to children and young people in Northern Ireland.

To book a workshop please contact Young at Art on 028 9023 0660 or for more information on ‘Champion of the Child’ please visit


Notes to Editor:

– Polish Cultural Week (May 7 2009 – May 13 2009)

– The drama workshop aimed at children aged 10-13 years is available for schools and groups visiting the exhibition and supports the school curriculum under Personal Development and Mutual Understanding and Local and Global citizenship strands.

– The exhibition features drawings by Itzhak Belfer, an Israeli artist of international renown and one of the children saved by Korczak

– To accompany the Champion of the Child exhibition there will also be a special reading of Korczak’s King Matt the First – one of Poland’s best loved children’s books – at the Belfast Waterfront during the Belfast Children’s Festival.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES For more information please contact Andrew McGall, Communication Officer at NICCY on 028 9031 1616 or