“It is our responsibility to prepare children to take on future challenges with knowledge, integrity, and care,” Alexandra, a ONE youth ambassador from Italy, believes. That’s why investing in and preparing future generations now is the key to creating a better future for everyone, regardless of age, around the world.
World Children’s Day does just that by promoting children’s rights. Having started in 1954, every year on 20 November the world comes together “to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.” The day aims to ensure that children around the world have the tools and opportunities they need to create better futures for themselves and future generations.
At ONE, we believe in ensuring children everywhere have the means to do so and can live a life of opportunity. That’s why to mark World Children’s Day, ONE we spoke to 10 global activists and champions from around the world to find out just what this day means to them and what they hope to see for future generations.
Here’s what they had to say.
Océane, Youth Ambassador in France
“World Children’s Day reminds us that children are the future of our world and that respecting and protecting their rights is essential to secure the foundations for a more equitable world. The current health context has reinforced inequalities and deprived many children of access to schools and education. The right to education is one of the pillars of a fairer world and this right must not be violated, regardless of where a child lives.
In addition, many children live in atrocious situations, suffering from abuse and exploitation. All of this must stop. Protecting children is essential to build a more equal and sustainable future.”
It is our responsibility to prepare children to take on future challenges with knowledge, integrity, and care.
Alexandra, ONE Youth Ambassador in Italy
“Children are the future. This is a simple fact, and it is our responsibility to prepare children to take on future challenges with knowledge, integrity, and care. This will be the challenge of our lifetimes. In everything we do, it is our responsibility to keep in mind those who will come after us, and in our interactions with children, however limited or extensive they may be, it is essential that we make a continuous effort to educate and inspire them to constantly keep learning and improving. To be respectful and caring in their communities. To be kind, to be smart, to understand that the world keeps changing and that they have to learn how to adapt to these changes. We have to tell them that life will be challenging, and show them how to face every hardship with courage, kindness, and integrity.
World Children’s Day is a strong reminder of how important children are. It is our responsibility as humans, as peers, as a community, to invest in the future by ensuring that it will be led by strong, caring, and responsible individuals. World Children’s Day reminds us of how important each and every one of us is in shaping the future.”
Chaïma, ONE Youth Ambassador in France
“I found out about World Children’s Day when I was in middle school during an event organized by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. The theme of the year addressed the importance of education and access to fundamental knowledge, and it is a theme that has been close to my heart ever since. I am still committed to UNICEF and this year I was able to find the same spirit at ONE.
Change must be global and intersectional, or it will not be. This change relies upon the need to provide all children, everywhere in the world, with the keys to be vectors of change. And before eradicating the lack of knowledge that weighs on the minds of the youngest, it is necessary above all to address the following key issues: the fight against extreme poverty and for access to education. When I think of World Children’s Day, I think of all those we could help have a better future in order to become enlightened men and women.”
Lexi, ONE Youth Ambassador in the US
“World Children’s Day is important to me because it guarantees children’s rights everywhere. When children are assured certain rights like education, nutrition, and a safe environment, they can achieve their goals. I hope future generations of children can achieve their hopes and dreams because countries worldwide fulfill the promises in the Convention on the Rights of a Child.”
David, ONE Youth Ambassador in France
“World Children’s Day is an opportunity to remember that many children are not as fortunate as I am. Many children living in areas of conflict or extreme poverty are robbed of the innocence of their childhood by a permanent precariousness and risk.
No matter who you are and where you come from, that every child born into this world has the same chances of success and empowerment.
It is also an opportunity to remember that millions of girls cannot go to school every day. What I wish above all for the next generations is that no matter who you are and where you come from, that every child born into this world has the same chances of success and empowerment.”
Sarah, ONE Youth Ambassador in France
“World Children’s Day is the occasion to give a voice to children and to take their needs into account when setting the political agenda. Children whose needs are taken into account can develop as individuals and contribute to changing our societies and thus making their immediate environment more prosperous. How can this be achieved? By showing great resilience and benefiting from many resources, they can become a source of inspiration to transform the world.
On this day of celebration, I think it is necessary to keep in mind this strength that children carry within them and not only perceive them as little people or future adults. Their current vision of the world and their internal capacities such as trust and leadership are being consolidated today and this is valuable. In the future, I hope that the words of children will always be considered legitimate and serious because they carry meaning.”
Merryl, ONE Champion from Kenya
“International Children’s Day is a recognition of the importance of every human voice. We cannot take freedom for granted in a time when we have many instances of the blatant abuse of the human rights of many children across Africa. Every child who is a survivor of war, sexual violence, assault, and difficult economic times must know they matter. Human rights defenders and activists must continue to fight for justice and their freedom.”
Tidjiane, ONE Youth Ambassador in France
“For me, World Children’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to remember, with nostalgia, the good and not so good times from our own childhood. The perseverance, and the carelessness of the first steps, up to the first bruises on the knees. Every individual has the right to a decent and worthy childhood, to live these moments without being deprived of them. It is not normal that nowadays, from one country to another, a child’s main concern may be not knowing whether they are going to eat today. Our common duty is therefore to do everything in our power to avoid this, not only now but for the generations to come.”
Silvia, ONE Youth Ambassador in Italy
“To me the World Children’s Day means hope for the future, for the future of all of us. When I think of my little nephews I can’t help thinking of every child in the world, and I hope that everyone will grow strong, happy, self-confident, willing to do their best to change the world and make it better. That’s my reason to assert that investing, improving, and believing in children and in their possibilities is worthy. Governments must support children’s rights: protection, equality, education, health, development, [and a] decent standard of living.
My hope for future generations is that they will grow up keeping their childhood dreams alive, and I hope they will grow up more conscious about what happens next to them, sensitive to values like equality and justice.
My hope for future generations is that they will grow up keeping their childhood dreams alive, and I hope they will grow up more conscious about what happens next to them, sensitive to values like equality and justice. I hope they will be willing to take action and do their part to fix what needs to be fixed, and improve what needs to be improved.”
Mattia, ONE Youth Ambassador in Italy
“We were all children once. I still recall the ambitions, the ideas, the pure and simple joy of that period. The person I am today surely sprang up from there. Unfortunately, many children around the globe are not granted the same chances as me. Child soldiers, displaced or asylum-seeking children, victims of harsh regimes or living in extreme poverty are just the tip of the iceberg. And this is the issue that World Children’s Day aims at putting under the limelight. It tells us that much still has to be done to make every child thrive and achieve his or her life purposes.
We need the future generations to be passionate, ‘hungry and foolish,’ in Steve Jobs’ words, with a view to helping our societies improve and further develop.”