In 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that November 20th be observed worldwide as Universal Children’s Day, November 20th was chosen because it was on November 20, 1959 that the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted on November 20, 1989.
Universal Children’s Day is a day of fraternity and understanding among children all over the world. It is also a day to devote activity to promoting the welfare of the children of the world.
MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
In 2000, world leaders identified eight Millenium Development Goals, six of which relate directly to children. These six goals are:
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Achieve universal primary education.
Promote gender equality and empower women.
Reduce child mortality.
Improve maternal health.
Reverse the incidence of major diseases.
The last two Millenium Development Goals are not particular to children, but will make critical improvements in their lives:
Ensure environmental sustainability.
Develop a global partnership for development.
GIRLS AND WOMEN
At least half of the Millenium Development Goals are related to girls and women. UNICEF estimates that 31 million girls worldwide miss out on primary education. Sometimes girls lack transportation to get to school or live in areas so remote that no school is nearby or no full-time teaches available. Innovative solutions are addressing these challenges.
Floating solar-powered schools are being used in Bangladesh to ensure uninterrupted learning for children whose communities have been affected by floods and rising sea water.
Some girls in school in Uganda have access to a solar-powered Digital Drum, a ruggedly built computer loaded with dynamic multimedia content and housed in a kiosk built into an oil drum.
And, in South Africa, the TechnoGirls partnership among UNICEF, the government and the business, connects thousands of adolescent girls with mentors from the tech sector to boost their skills and job readiness in non-traditional jobs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Consider the welfare of your children and the children in your community. Consider also the impact of your actions on the world’s children. What can you do to help those less fortunate than yourself? What can you do to enhance the well-being of your own children? Here are some ideas.
Contribute to or volunteer for a Food Bank
Have regular conversations with your children.
Teach your children about life in other countries, and about how our actions can impact those far away.
Model healthy and ethical eating for your children. 40% of the world’s children go to bed hungry every night.
Encourage your children to play vigorously outside.
Play indoor, intellectual “parlor” games with your children.
Be kind and loving to your partner and to your children.
Make music lessons available to your children.
Encourage your child to learn a craft or a trade.
Live in a child friendly city.
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.