World Children’s Day

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE AND INSPIRING THE NEW GENERATION OF ADVOCATES

 WORLD CHILDREN’S DAY 2021

World Children’s Day was initially established in 1954, it is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. On November 20th in 1959 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On the same day of the month, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.[1]

The world through children’s eyes.

Children’s perception of the world is in a large extent an image, a picturesque of how the adults in their surroundings paint it. Children often see the world through our eyes and how we choose to present it to them. So, how did we choose to present this world to them today? Not wanting to make a black and white perspective of this, but in reality, our presentation can really either be positive or negative, destructive or constructive, optimistic or pessimistic. Even though it is important that the world and life are presented in a realistic way to children, we cannot escape the context and connotation we put in our words. They can either move them closer to solutions or not, and they can either inspire or discourage. Did you ask yourselves about how the children in your nearest surrounding see the world today, and … does it have anything to do with you?

Today, when the world commemorates International Children’s Day, we as individuals and as a society have to take responsibility for how our children see the world. Let’s take the initiative.

Facts and numbers. We are here to inspire the change!

The numbers are showing that since the pandemic started, that children represented 16.3.% of total cumulated cased of testing positive to COVID-19.[2] This number can motivate children to take awareness for their health and the current situation, where they can see that the world is interconnected. A lesson-learned that we can present to them is that children in Asia can feel the same effects of global happening like children in Africa or South America. There are threats that effect all children around the world equally. What are we doing about it today?

On the other hand, there are threats that do not affect all children alike. When it comes to education in crisis, all children around the globe can feel the consequences, however in many countries their pain and long-term consequences of lack of education is often neglected. The situation of Yemen’s education sector is daunting. Out of 7 million school-aged children, over 2 million children are already out of school, which represents 28,6% of all the children, even though this is their basic right. School infrastructure is badly damaged and learning materials are in short supply.[3] In the European union, this percentage of primary out-of-school children is below 2%.[4] Children can take pride and motivation to see they have access to quality education, to classrooms, to school supplies and can advocate for equal rights as future pillars of society. The threat to lose the access to education is not equal for all the children. How are we helping them advocate for this today?

ADRA’s global efforts and solutions.

Based on Level and Trends in Child (LTCM) Mortality report (2019), there is remarkable progress in child survival rate over the past three decades. A lot of this is connected to children being involved in the education system, not having to work. Girls who are involved in the educational system are less likely to be forced into marriages and die at child birth. [5]ADRA has been supporting, coupling and propelling all efforts when it comes to the global education revolution and progress in reducing threats to children. In 2021, ADRA raised around 1.3 million signatures in the campaign Every child. Everywhere. In School. advocating for the right to equal access to primary and secondary education for all.

The LTCM report mentioned also predicts that current COVID-19 pandemic could reverse long period of progress toward eliminating preventable child deaths, highlighting the need for urgent action to restore and improve childbirth services and antenatal and postnatal care for mothers and babies.[6] For the purpose of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 pandemics, ADRA has been intensively implementing projects in more than 95 counties in the world. While implementing 422 projects related to fight COVID-19 crisis, 19.9mio beneficiaries were reached, where 25.9 million dollars were spent for the response. In the ADRA Europe region, 17 countries used more than half of a million dollars to help around 19.000 households in the current pandemic.[7]

A lot of efforts and support in Europe via ADRA was focusing on support for virtual schooling as 3 EU countries implemented activities in this sector. Education and therefore the future of children is especially under threat during crisis situations. Prior to the pandemic, 104 million children aged 5 to 17 were deprived of education due to these crises.[8] COVID-19 has seen this number rise exponentially, 1.6 billion learners have been impacted including 99% of all students in lower- and middle-income countries.

While many countries all around the world are still facing high child mortality, child marriages, child labor or lack of access to education – the World Children’s Day is THE day to remember:We were all once children. Would we become better, stronger and more influential advocates to eradicate children suffering today, if the adults in our childhood would train us to be devoted multiplicators of advocacy at our young age?

“Dreams never die. Sometimes you think they are dead, but they are just hibernating like some old bear.’’  ― Harlan Coben

Let us continue to inspire the next generation of advocates, so that one day we will be able to celebrate the World Children’s Day for all the progress in achieving full respect of the Declaration of the rights of the child all around the word.

Prepared by Katja Kotnik (ADRA Slovenia) in cooperation with the Inter-European Division (EUD) of Seventh – Day Adventists, and ADRA Europe.

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Sources:

[1] https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-childrens-day

[2] https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/

[3] https://www.unicef.org/mena/education-emergencies-and-crisis

[4] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.PRM.UNER.ZS?end=2019&locations=EU&start=2013

[5] https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/girls-enrolled-school-are-less-likely-become-pregnant-teenagers

[6] https://www.un.org/development/desa/pd/news/levels-and-trends-child-mortality-2020-report

[7] ADRA EU (2021). Report on the response to COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021. Internal document.

[8] https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/node/819