While Children’s Day in India is celebrated on 14th November every year; Universal Children’s Day is celebrated on 20th November annually to honour the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which was passed on 20th November 1959.
While there were always some sort of child’s rights, there was never a universal consensus on it, this was changed by the UN charter. The charter entails that every child is entitled to enjoy the rights mentioned which include the right to freedom, name, nationality, social security, special treatment, education care, love, understanding, first to receive protection and relief, protection against all forms of neglect, cruelty, exploitation and from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination.
Children are always looked after, but there are times when children have shown themselves to be far more mature than their adult counterparts. To celebrate Universal Children’s Day, Child Help Foundation would like to talk about five inspiring children from around the world.
- Anoyara Khatun
- Greta Thunberg
- Louis Braille
- Samantha Smith
- Bana al-Abed
In 2017, Anoyara Khatun was the youngest of all recipients that year to be conferred with Nari Shakti Puraskhar. She was awarded at the mere age of 21. Born in West Bengal in 1996, Anoyara Khatun was trafficked to Delhi at the age of 12 to work as a domestic maid. After six months, Anoyara escaped to her village and formed a network of children's groups in 80 villages where the young learnt about their rights and collectively intervened to stop cases of trafficking, child marriage and child labour in their neighbourhoods. After nine years, the group managed to stop 50 child marriages from taking place, rescued 80 child labourers, prevented 200 children from being trafficked and enrolled 400 children into primary schools.
The inspiration behind the list, Greta Thunberg is arguably the most famous child activist in the world. At the age of fifteen, the Swedish activist stopped going to school, to advocate for action on climate change. She protested outside the Swedish parliament holding up a sign ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet (School Strike for Climate)’. Soon she achieved mainstream popularity, and a host of young people around the world followed her lead, in what is now known as the ‘Greta Effect’. Seeing her achievement, broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough told her: "You have aroused the world. I'm very grateful to you." Besides advocating for climate change, Greta Thunberg also advocates for other issues like global peace and end to world conflict.
At the age of three, Louis Braille was blinded in one eye after an accident with a stitching awl. However, due to the infection, he became completely blind. While still studying, he developed a writing system after taking inspiration from a system invented by Charles Barbier. He presented this new system at the age of fifteen, which later became to be known as braille script. His birth anniversary on January 4th is celebrated by the visually impaired community every year and has thus become immortalized.
During the Cold War, citizens of Russia and the United States of America kept track of every move in fear. Fearing nuclear retaliation from the other side, there was an air of tension in both countries. Samantha Smith was one of them. In order to cool down the tension, Samantha wrote a letter to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov. A few months after the letter, she received a call back from the leader, inviting her to the Soviet Union. Her journey to the Soviet Union changed the attitude of citizens of both countries. She soon became known as ‘America's Youngest Ambassador’. Her heartfelt letter can be read on The Peace Abby.
Bana al-Abed, through the assistance of her English-speaking mother, has documented her life during the Battle of Aleppo via her Twitter account. Her tweets talked about airstrikes, destruction, hunger, displacement, the prospect of her and her family's death, her longing for a peaceful childhood, the al-Bab district of eastern Aleppo, and her general calls for peace. Her tweets garnered attention internationally, most notably from J.K. Rowling, who sent an ebook of Harry Potter to her. She also published her memoir titled ‘Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace’.
Child Help Foundation is committed to helping children. Child Help Foundation has helped 44,81,098 people, including children. Child Help Foundation’s Emergency Medical Support, Education, and Zero Hunger has helped 3,023 children, 4,86,141 students and 22,91,857 children respectively.
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