Sunday 20 November 2011

My heritage of growing up overseas. Part 2: a heart for the children of this world

Today, the 20th of November it's Universal Children's Day. This day is internationally known as the international day for children. So that's what I will to write about today. You probably know that I grew up in Africa and now live in the Netherlands. Recently I wrote about My Heritage of growing up overseas part 1: Respect for malaria. Today I will write about my heart for the children of the world. As a child I say parents in Malawi who had to walk for more than an hour to get health drinking water for their children. I saw children begging on the streets, holes in their clothes. I saw children who could not go to school because there was no money to pay school fees. I saw rich kids too but the children in need made a lasting impression on me. Somethings in life you just don't forget!

The 20th of November marks the day on which the United Nations general Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989 (now 22 years ago).

What are children's rights?
  1. All children have the same rights. All children have the right to life through the provision of basic needs - water, food, shelter and health care.
  2. Adults have to think what is best for the children when they decide about things. All children should be safeguarded against all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation, and are entitled to live in a safe and caring environment.
  3. All children have the right to live and develop. All children should be able to grow to their full potential through quality education, leisure and play.
  4. All children have the right to say what they think and be respected.
Just a little more history: in 1953 the United Nations general Assembly proclaimed that Universal Children's Day would take place annually on the 20th of November. The problem is that in 1925 the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1 to be International Children's Day.  So now Children's day is celebrated on different dates around the world.

To  celebrate Universal Children's Day young people from across the globe created the video project "We will change everything". This creative collaboration shows the power of the web, as the filmmakers have not met most kids, yet the children managed to create a song about their hopes and dreams. The video clip was shown during TEDxYouthDay 2010 in 60 different cities and it invites you to contribute too! Watch and enjoy it.

Today there is a Tedx Youthday in Amsterdam. Children and young people are able to express there ideas. They have a right to say what they think and be respected!
Here is a short film about the millennium goals of the UN. Unicef (the United Nations Children fund) lets us know that 6 of 8 goals are related to children's welfare. The target date is 2015. So there is a short time to go. The goals which affect children are the following 6:
  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Less children are hungry.
  2. Achieve universal primary education. All children have primary school education.
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
  4. Reduce child mortality, so less children die.
  5. Improve maternal health. Healthier and happier mothers.
  6. Combat Hiv/Aids, malaria and other diseases. Less parents get sick, healthier families.

Let's hope this world will become a better place for our children to grow up in. What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you seen children that have left a lasting impression on you?


  1. Thanks for sharing all about Universal Childrens' Day. So many people go through life oblivious to it, it's nice to take a moment and realize its purpose and intent.

  2. Thanks Linda for your comment. The world needs people who can be "a voice" for the children of the world. It is good to be aware of these special days.