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UNICEF Nepal Celebrates 23rd National Children's Day

© UNICEF Nepal/2012/PMathema
Children getting ready putting on the make up for the play

By- Deepa Rai

Amid the jubilant children and their well-wishers, Unicef Nepal joined in the celebration of 23rd National Children’s Day organised by the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) at the Kathmandu City Hall on 14th September 2012. Mr Dinanath Sharma, Minister of Education, inaugurated the ceremony followed by welcome speeches from children Ms Rohini Shakya and Mr Nurendra Yadav.

Rohini, who had to walk over an hour to attend the event due to a half day banda (closure), rightly questioned why children can’t even enjoy one full day designated for them in a year. Nurendra, who works at a small restaurant to get by, related experiences of cruelty and beatings  which  force many children to flee their own homes. He said, “Even after the physical pain subsides, the wound inside our hearts still remain.”
Minister of Education, Mr Dinanath Sharma, spoke about the need to educate Nepali parents/guardians along with their children, “Nearly 6 per cent of Nepali children are out of school. I urge all those working in this field to help the government by finding out which areas need addressing so that we all can find solutions to this problem. While all our government-run schools are free until secondary programmes (12th grade in remote areas), we’ve not been able to make it compulsory. It is our challenge to change parents’ attitudes so that they send their children to school. They must also realise that education is one of the fundamental rights of our children.”

© UNICEF Nepal/2012/PMathema
UNICEF Representative Ms Singer shakes hand with Minister Dinanath Sharma

In her speech, Ms. Hanaa Singer, Unicef Nepal Country Representative, stressed the need for a child-friendly constitution and commitment from the government to ensure children’s well-being. "Let us all work along with and for the children of Nepal, so that we can soon boast of having lived Kavi Devkota’s dreams of having Soon ko bihaani, haamra baal baalikaa ka laagi (a golden morning for our children)!"

The programme was packed with musical performances by children. The "Situation of Children in Nepal 2069" report was also launched at the event, and Pushpa Bhandari, who won an All Nepal Judo Competition in the 40 kg category, was awarded a certificate of recognition. She was an inspiration at the event, as despite both her feet having been badly damaged by fire when young, she was able to secure first place in the competition.



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