Reimagining wellbeing and happiness for every child
In Bhutan and across the world.
The World Children’s Day 2020 was marked at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives across the world.
This year marks 30 years of Bhutan signing and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And despite the challenges the pandemic posed, the National Commission of Women and Children, the Council for Religious Affairs (Dratshang Lhentshog Secretariat), the Ministry of Education and UNICEF Bhutan came together to observe the Day.
It was time to reimagine a better future for every child. It was time to reimagine the way we observed global days, especially, the World Children’s Day, which is UNICEF’s and its partners’ biggest day of the year given that it is an occasion to advocate and raise awareness for the most pressing issues facing children worldwide. It was time to reimagine wellbeing and happiness for every child, in Bhutan and across the world.
In preparation for the Day, we brought together children representing diverse backgrounds and districts for a consultation on issues they would like to ask the Government and policy makers. From education to health and nutrition to child protection issues, the 27 children, who were divided into groups, came up with 17 questions during the half day consultation.
These questions were presented to the group and merged into 10 questions, which they asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the National Commission for Women and Children, Dr Tandi Dorji on World Children’s Day.
The World Children’s Day, Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said, is not only a time to celebrate but also to remind all, especially decision and policy makers on the commitments they have made, to abide by them and for children to demand action as many are doing the world over.
“Despite the good work undertaken by the Government and many civil society groups, there is still much to be done to ensure the rights of our children and to enable them to fully participate in the society,” the minister said. “As a small Least Developed Country, Bhutan continues to face a number of constraints in terms of resources, capacity and infrastructure. There are many competing priorities of the Government especially during this pandemic with limited resources and disruptions in our economy. However, Bhutan stands firm in its efforts to uphold and implement the principles and provisions of this convention.”
“Today as we join many other countries in the world to advocate for all children, let us particularly commit and remember those who are not heard, for the children who are in need of special care and protection, for the children who need us every day to thrive and those most vulnerable. Let us work hard, diligently and hope for a brighter and better future, especially for our children in the post COVID era,”
UNICEF Bhutan Representative Dr Will Parks said that the World Children’s Day this year is taking place during one of the most challenging times.
“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the deep inequalities in our societies and impacted all of us, especially children. UNICEF Bhutan remains committed to support the efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan to reimagine a more equal, just and sustainable society for our children.”
November 20 is also observed as the Day of Action and Prayers for Children and to mark the occasion, prayers were recited and a thousand butter lamps lit at the Kuenray of the Trashichhodzong.