International Day for the Protection of children being observed in many countries on 1st June, since 1950 is also known as International Children’s Day. Other variants of this day include Universal Children’s Day and World Children’s Day celebrated on 20th June, in many countries.
International Day for the Protection of Children or International Children Day is observed on June 1 in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Europe, Africa as well as other communist and socialist states.
International Children’s Day 2019
International Children’s Day in 2019 was celebrated on Saturday, 1st June. The day was observed with speeches, awareness campaigns and several other events related to the welfare of the children.
Some countries celebrate International children’s Day as a public holiday while some celebrate it as a full-day holiday for the schools.
To state an example, in the Republic of China the day was as a full day holiday at all schools and a series of recreational activities for the children including – camping trips, stage performances and free movies to have fun.
The government of China also gives gifts to below 14 years children of government officials. Even the civil servants are given a half-day off to spend more time with their children.
International Children’s Day – History
The origin of the holiday dates back to 1925 when representatives from different countries met in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Conference for the Well-being of Children. As a consequence of the conference, many countries started observing Children’s Day to bring to fore the issues concerning children. Though there was no specific date assigned and countries observe it on dates suitable to them as per their culture.
The date June 1 of International children’s Day was established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), during its November 1949 Congress in Moscow. WIDF is an international organization established in 1945 and working for the rights of women.
Need for International Children’s Day
International Children’s Day is established to protect the rights of children throughout the world and to take initiatives for their welfare and growth.
Despite global progress made in terms of protection of child rights and overall development, education of the children, still a lot remains to be done. Millions of children, even in developed nations like the United States, live in poverty and other challenging situations. Children in war-torn areas or conflict zones live a deprived life with scarce food, almost no health facilities, no education and are often subjected to physical abuse, bullying, and harassment.
Moreover, global estimates reveal that almost 16000 children die before attaining the age of five years, mostly due to preventable causes like malnutrition, low health awareness, improper maternal care and absence of adequate health facilities.
One child in six children is not going to school and missing out on critical learning essential for future and growth. Also, 1 in 80 children is forced by conflict to flee to save their life, exposing them to high risk.
Statistics provided by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) reveal that every year around 1000 children die in Syria due to war and a good number are recruited to participate in hostile war activities.
The society needs its children to be healthy, happy, educated and progressive. This is indeed also a fundamental prerequisite for any nation to be progressive. Hence, the celebration of International Children’s Day is essential to protect the rights and privileges of the children across the globe.
How is International Children’s Day Celebrated?
A series of events are organized across the globe to raise awareness about the issues concerning the children and the ways to address them.
Events like talk shows, speeches, discussions are organized in which the significant issues related to the children are discussed. Several recreational events are also organized in schools and colleges in which the children happily participate. The events include stage performances, picnic tours, etc.
Communities, NGOs, parents and other relevant organizations come forward to discuss the problems faced by the children and also on their possible solutions.
Significance of the International Children’s Day
Children in a family need care, love, protection, and support. It’s hard to imagine a happy family without a happy child. There are millions of children in the world who are facing issues like – poverty, hunger, malnutrition, violence, etc.
International Children’s Day provides a platform to the parents, civil societies, teachers and other well-wishers to come together and discuss the problems faced by the children and what remedial measures should be taken to tackle them.
The day gives us a chance to advocate and promote child’s rights transforming them into dialogues and actions. This, in turn, will build a better world for the children and provide them with adequate growth opportunities.