The day 14 November is celebrated as Children’s Day in
India. Other countries have different dates. Universal Children’s Day is
celebrated on 20 November. On the same date in 1959 the United Nations adopted
the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989 the Convention on the Rights
of the Child.
A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights
of the Child can be found on the UNICEF website. Children’s Day is not about
celebrating and dedicating one single day to children for who they are. It
should not be about attending local Children’s Day fairs to see magic shows and
get unhealthy free sweets for just being a kid.
Children directly and indirectly face crisis that the world
goes through. They are used as labourers in some countries and are immersed in
armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by differences be it religion,
minority issues, or disabilities. Their voices are hardly audible amidst the
sound of guns, lofty orations of politicians, or the cries for food. World
leaders are doing what they can through conventions, summits, legislation and
sanctions but what can children do for children? The school is a powerful
institution for youngsters.
School children can come together to help the not-so
privileged kids. The electronic media
can be a mighty tool that can get the right message across to the right people
in a short time. Children’s day can be that one special occasion when millions
of kids can demand that grown-ups should
stop all atrocities against children and
provide food and education to each child the world over.
It is a day to bring awareness and begin action in a new
direction, find more avenues through which children can be helped. It should be
seen as the day we open our eyes and heart to children around the globe that
have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination.
Children are the insurance of human civilisation. Since
fruits of tomorrow, they are the result of the efforts we put in today. It’s
high time we give Children’s Day a better purpose.
By Saronyo Lal Mukherjee
Coordinator, Class XI, South Point High School