Bhutan recommits to ensure children’s wellbeing on World Children’s Day

A football exhibition match was held to advocate inclusion and protection of children from all forms of violence

20 November 2022
A group photo
Guests and participants at the World Children's Day celebration in Thimphu.

November 20, 2022: When it comes to children’s wellbeing, there can only be one team.

Recommitting to protect children from all forms of violence and to ensure their wellbeing, Bhutan celebrated World Children’s Day with an exhibition match at the historic Changlingmithang football stadium in Thimphu among policy makers, celebrities, influences, footballers, children and young people today.

Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering joined children, child monks, national football players, government officials, representatives from the media, the private sector, celebrities and UNICEF officials in an hour-long exhibition match.  The team also played a penalty shootout with children with disabilities.

World Children’s Day (WCD) is the global day of action for children, by children and is marked every year on November 20, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. WCD aims to highlight critical issues affecting children’s lives and this year,  World Children’s Day takes place the day the Football World Cup starts. As people all around the world unite in celebration of football and the World Cup, UNICEF and partners want them to also unite around every child’s right to non-discrimination and inclusion.

Her Excellency the Minister for Health and the Vice Chair of the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that with the guidance and blessings of His Majesty the Kings,  the Government has always placed children at the heart of its development activities.

“His Majesty The King always reminds us that ‘a nation cannot fool herself into thinking of a bright future when she has not invested wisely in her children,” Her Excellency said. “The future is in our children’s hands, and we must commit ourselves to do our part. The implementation of the Government’s Accelerated Mother and Child Health Policy will help us implement our collective dream, the first 1000 golden days, which ensures that every child in Bhutan has the best start in life. The National Child Policy once approved will establish a coherent strategic policy framework for the promotion of child rights, wellbeing and protection in the country.”

WCD also coincides with the on-going campaign to End Violence Against Children (EVAC) that NCWC and UNICEF is implementing with a consortium of partners. NCWC in partnership with Bhutan Football Federation, UNICEF and partners marked World Children’s Day to send a positive message about discrimination and inclusion for every child and that ending violence against children would give every child in Bhutan the opportunity to be included and to thrive.

Bhutan Football Federation’s Media and Marketing Director, Phuntsho Wangdi said the federation is honoured to host the football exhibition match and be part of the advocacy efforts to end violence against children. “Given the popularity of football in the country and its power to bring together children, parents, caregivers and policymakers, we are proud to partner with NCWC and UNICEF to celebrate children and work together to address issues affecting them.”

Given the significance of the Day in changing the lives of children, in Bhutan and around the world, the ongoing campaign to end violence against children and the role of sports in ending discrimination and championing inclusion, the WCD event turned the national football stadium blue and saw among others, football star Chencho Gyeltshen, lead singer Tandin Wangchuk of the popular Misty Terrace band, Women’s national team captain Pema Tshering, Men’s national team captain Karma Chedrup, national newspaper Kuensel Corporation Limited’s Managing Director Ugyen Penjor and the CEO and founder of iBest Studios, a private multimedia firm, Tharchen and iBest’s Chief Operation Officer Sonam Rinchen, playing the game with children and young people.

UNICEF Bhutan Representative a.i Marie-Consolée Mukangendo said WCD celebrates every child everywhere where societies and Governments recommit themselves to build a kinder, fairer, more inclusive world for every child.

“Children are our future and our today, and the Royal Government of Bhutan’s leadership and commitment to children’s wellbeing has shown us what investing in children means,” Marie-Consolée Mukangendo said. “UNICEF remains committed to support the Royal Government of Bhutan in ensuring these gains made in the lives of our children are sustained and that together, we address newer challenges facing children.”

The event was attended by the Acting Education Secretary Tshewang Chophel Dorji, Secretary General of Tarayana Foundation Chime Paden Wangdi, representatives from Ability Bhutan Society, Draktsho, UN agencies and the Bhutan Football Academy.


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