Universal Children’s Day promotes the universal right to a safe and happy childhood, and celebrates the world’s children.
“This year, I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Originally established by the General Assembly in 1954 to prompt governments to look after the welfare of their youngest citizens, and to encourage children around the world to appreciate each other’s differences, Universal Children's Day now focuses on a wide range of issues, ranging from access to clean water, healthcare and education, to freedom from slavery, war and abuse. This year, Save the Children will host an event that will focus on the theme, ‘Stop Violence Against Children’, and will highlight the various forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence seen against the world’s children today.
Although the official date is set as 20th November (this was the day that the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) were established), some countries hold their celebrations at different times of the year to fit in with their cultural calendars. Australia, for example, always observes UCD on the 4th Wednesday in October, which coincides with its National Children’s Week. Their theme for 2016 is Children have the right to reliable information from the media.
In India, the day is celebrated annually on November 14th, the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. A huge variety of activities, gifts and events are arranged each year, including activities to help underprivileged children and to educate people about children’s rights. I particularly like this printable resource from UNICEF which illustrates the rights of the child in a simple, colourful way.
UNICEF Malaysia has also posted some great tips for ideas for action that kids can take in order to ‘be the change’ they want to see in the world.
If you’re celebrating Universal Children’s Day, we’d love to hear about your activities and share them with our readers, so please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories.
By Carolyn Savage - Head of International Education
Picture Credit - Cranleigh Abu Dhabi