2801 universal children day
Universal Children’s Day. Photo: child rights focus

WHAT IS UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY?

Investing in our future means investing in our children — which is why the United Nations has designated every November 20 as Universal Children’s Day. It’s a time to promote togetherness around the world, awareness of the problems children face in every corner of the globe, and improve the welfare for all children.

HISTORY OF UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY

Though Universal Children’s Day was established by the United Nations in 1954, it wasn’t until November 20, 1959, that the UN General Assembly adopted an extended form of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Originally acquired in 1924 by the League of Nations, the UN adopted this document as its own statement of children’s rights. The original text reads as follows:

The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually

The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored.

The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.

The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood and must be protected against every form of exploitation.

The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

For the expanded version, the UN adopted 10 additional principles with an accompanying resolution, proposed by the delegation of Afghanistan, calling for governments to recognize these rights, strive for their acceptance, and publicize the document as widely as possible.

30 years later on November 20, 1989, The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The CRC is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. The document deals with child-specific needs and rights, requiring all nations that ratify it are bound to it by international law and must act within the best interests of the child, as national today.

HOW TO CELEBRATE

Although their teachers will speak to them about their rights, parents can also contribute. At the Toy Blog, they repeatedly suggested that education starts at home. And the foundation to get your kids to understand the world they live in is built on our ability to communicate and make them understand. They should know that there are children, who don’t go to school, do not have food to eat or access to doctors or hospitals. Once they become aware, is when we can get them to participate by helping.

Here are some ideas to help you build your child's awareness:

Set an example at the dinner table: It´s not a question of terrifying them or giving them facts and numbers on childhood malnutrition but rather have them put themselves in other children’s “shoes”. At dinner, ask your kids what they would do if they had nothing to eat or if they met another child who had nothing to eat. Make sure you listen to them and engage in a debate.

Understanding: Kids learn how to feel empathy through their games and play. When you go to the supermarket, get your kids to “play at how much food can they buy with 2 euros, for example. Make sure you tell them that half of the kids in the world live on less than that per day.

Volunteers: Thanks to the Internet, it´s very easy to find nonprofit organizations that help childhood development. Sit down with your kids and choose a project together. At Educo, for example, they have this amazing initiative that supports kids who want to help other kids around the world.

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