Universal Children’s Day

Celebrated in honour of children, Children’s Day is celebrated and observed on different dates across the world. In 1925, International Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare. The World Children’s Day is celebrated on 20th November to commemorate the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1959.

The first Children’s Day began on the second Sunday of June in 1857 by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts who held a special service dedicated to, and for the children on a day he named Rose Day, though it was later named Flower Sunday, and then named Children’s Day. Children’s Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1920 on 23 April and the day has since then been celebrated nationally since 1920 and the official declaration was made in 1929.

In Singapore, traditionally, 1 October is when the country officially celebrates Children’s Day. Another similar event celebrated annually is Youth Day, which is celebrated on the first Sunday of July every year, and is a school holiday for primary, secondary and junior college students. From 2011, Children’s Day has been celebrated on the first Friday of October.On Children’s Day, Kindergarten and Primary school students get a holiday, while secondary school and junior college students still need to go to school, with teachers often organising special events and activities so the older children could still celebrate.

In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on 14 November as a tribute to the birthday of India’s First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Known as Chacha Nehru among children, Nehru advocated for children to have all-rounded education that would build a better society in the future and considered children as real strength of a nation and foundation of society.. The day is celebrated across the country to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. The day has been celebrated since 1956 and before Nehru’s death was celebrated on 20 November, the Universal Children’s Day.

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. It was on this day when the in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child as well as the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The theme for this year’s celebration is Unite to reverse the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children. The theme highlights the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that all children irrespective of their status and situation should enjoy their rights to Survival and Development as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Child Rights Act (CRA) 2003.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals, as well as young people and children themselves, can play an important part in making World Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations. The World Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children. UNICEF and partners are calling on governments to adopt a Six Point Plan to Protect our Children which include ensuring all children learn, including by closing the digital divide, guaranteeing access to health and nutrition services, and making vaccines affordable and available to every child, supporting and protecting the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence, and neglect in childhood, increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change, reversing the rise in child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all and redoubling efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster and displacement.

So tomorrow, take some time out for the children around you and really talk to them and understand their concerns and issues. You could also sponsor a child under the ageis of many reputable organisations and put a child through school and make their life.