International Children’s Day -Take Action!

International Children’s Day is officially celebrated on June 1st each year -however many countries have their own Children’s day at different times of the year to suit their own calendars (see notes below).

Having worked with disadvantaged childen in indigenous communities of the Amazon basin,  post conflict communities in Mozambique and Timor Leste, nomadic communities in Chad and ethnic minority communities in Vietnam I realise we still have a lng way to go to ensure the rights of all children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which 192 nations have now signed up to.


If we look at how children have been used as  Child Soldiers in places such Sierra Leone,Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad ,Northern Uganda and now Sri Lanka we can see how chidren are manipulated to please the whims, desires  and needs of thoughtless adults. In war, no side really wins, but whichever side children find themselves they are always the losers ,the ones with the least power and which suffer innocently.


Take Action on this International Children’s Day!

Although we can celebrate, for one day, the rights of children that have been hard won,we should also take action from this day onward to ensure that all children no matter where they live have their basic rights ensured.

As  UNICEF states: Every one of us has a role to play in ensuring that every child enjoys a childhood. If you are a parent, teacher, social worker or other professional working with children, raise awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child among children. If you are a member or employee of an organization working for children’s rights, raise awareness of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, research and document governmental actions and policies and involve communities in promoting and protecting children’s rights. If you are a member of the media, promote knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and provide a forum for children’s participation in society. If you are a parliamentarian, ensure that all existing and new legislation and judicial practice is compatible with your country’s international obligations, monitor governments’ actions, policies and budgets and involve the community—including children—in relevant decision making.

The coalition to stop the use of Child Soldiers asks you to raise awarenes for their Red Hand Day .

Join the Coalition’s group on Facebook to keep up with news and events. The group name is: The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.

Buy an album of songs about child soldiers

All the profits from the French album, “Enfants Soldats D’ici & D’Ailleurs”, go towards helping child soldiers. 80% goes directly to an organisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that rehabilitates former child soldiers and 20% goes to the Coalition. For more details and how to buy the album see

Buy a football and help the Coalition

The Coalition has entered into an agreement with the Fair Deal Trading Company to produce footballs that incorporate the Coalition’s logo and the message Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Footballs can be purchased online at and for every ball purchased a donation of £2 is made to the Coalition.


Amnesty International campaigns for human rights worldwide and has a number of children’s rights campaigns.

Listen to children and then tell someone else –Listen Charity

Save the Children Fund (SCF) champions the rights of children globally, and campaigns actively for the end of child soldiers.

Listen to the BBC – A world for Children -then tell others.

SIGN UP for the newsletter from CRIN Child Rights Information Network.

Sign the Petition for a CRC Complaints Mechanism

And what about some suggestions from the  Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood– take action, download CCFC’s 10 Things You Can Do to Reclaim Childhood from Corporate Marketers.

Children’s Day may be celebrated on different days in different countries, such as :

In Argentina, Children’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of August and it’s known as Día del Niño.

In  Congo DR, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, São Tomé and Príncipe Children’s Day is celebrated on December 25 to honour all the children there.

In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14 every year. This date marks the birth anniversary of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Children’s day is celebrated on this day in recognition of his lifelong fondness and work for children.

Whatever you can do, take action and you can make a real difference.


Unfulfilled Promises..

The previous posts on the recruitment and utilization of Teaching Assistants brings us to highlight the unfulfilled promises that have been made globally to ensure that all children have their right to (quality) education safeguarded.

The right to education for minority communities and groups is the theme of the first United Nations Forum on Minority Issues which took place in Geneva on December 15-16 -2008.

The Forum, “Minorities and the Right to Education”, aims to provide an annual platform for dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to people of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

Worldwide, minority children continue to suffer disproportionately from unequal access to quality education which perpetuates the cycle of poverty leaving them unable to later fulfil their potential in employment and society. The international frameworks on equal access to quality education for minorities was discussed during the  first forum.

The Forum, which was organized by the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Professor Gay McDougall, and the OHCHR, in collaboration with UNESCO, was attended by a number of experts and human rights activists and prepared a Recommendation to go before the Human Rights Council.

Unesco organised a thematic debate as a side event on “Overcoming Inequalities in Education: the Importance of Inclusion.”

Read Report from the Thematic Debate on “Overcoming Inequalities in Education: the Importance of Inclusion”

For more information contact:

“[…] I have personally committed myself to making it a priority, for education is a fundamental human right, set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Human Rights Covenants, which have force of international law. To pursue the aim of education for all is therefore an obligation for States.”
(Koïchiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO, “Education for All: the Unfulfilled Promise”, 21st Century Talks session on education for all).

UNESCO survey finds under-privileged children also disadvantaged in the classroom

30-05-2008 – A new study by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities.

Entitled ‘ A view inside primary schools’, the report presents the results of a unique survey undertaken in 11 countries in Latin America, Asia and North Africa.


Right to education
Right to education

0-12-2007 – This publication is a joint UNESCO and UNICEF framework for the realization of children’s right to education and rights within education.

The result of intensive collaboration between UNESCO and UNICEF, the publication brings together the current thinking and practice on human rights-based approach in the education sector.

It presents key issues and challenges in rights-based approaches and provides a framework for policy and programme development from the level of the school up to the national and international levels.

For more information contact:


This post continues from “7020” (now called Teaching Assistants in Vietnam)  which described how 7020  Teaching assistants in Vietnam were supporting ethnic minority students gain access to education and help them to attend school regularly.

Teaching Assistants have two main roles -working with families to encourage students to get to school and to attend regularly and to support students when they are in school. They help ethnic minority students  and others who have barriers to their learning to understand the lesson (e.g. by using the mother tongue)  to gain confidence in using Vietnamese language and to develop social skills through pair work,small group work and the use of games,singing and dancing.

Ethnic minority girls-better access to education
Ethnic minority girls-better access to education

In this post we look at how Teaching Assistants  support students when they arrive at school.

Teaching Assistant brings students to school.Ha Giang Province