World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time

Alix Reboul-Salze
World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Alix Reboul-Salze

27 November 2018

As the sun rose on Saturday morning in Vientiane, Laos, a blue wave of thousands of children and adults flooded Patuxay square, the iconic monument in the center of the capital. A blue stage is set up, blue balloons are everywhere and the area is buzzing with excitement. It is World Children’s Day for the first time in Lao PDR!

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Maria Fernández

On 17 November 2018, UNICEF, together with its government partner, the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC), invited children to speak out about what issues matter to them the most: quality education, clean water and a fair chance for all.

After impressive performances – traditional dancing, pop performances and singing by a famous young artist Jacky the Voice among others – about 25 children publicly expressed their wishes for better education, better teacher training, better access to clean water and nutrition for every child in Laos, no matter where they live or which ethnic group they belong to.

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Saykoson Sanoubane
World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Ye Yuan

Top ranking leaders listened to them and Ms. Bundith Prathumvanh, Vice-President of NCAWMC, requested “all Government agencies, the Lao Front for National Development, the private sector, and all Lao people, in general, to put children first and prioritize children-related issues to ensure every child survives, thrives, develops to their full potential and participates in the society”.

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Saykoson Sanoubane

“Today, we are asking everyone to go blue in support of children’s rights and to amplify their voices. If we look at the situation of children in Laos, there has been important progress over the last years, including more children surviving, less malnourished children and more children going to school. However, on this very important day, we should focus on those children who still require our commitment and support. We all have to play our part,” Octavian Bivol, UNICEF Representative, stated.

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Ye Yuan

Children then invited participants to sign the blue petition pledging their support to child rights in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to be marked in November 2019. High-level leaders, both national and international, physically signed the petition banner, recommitting to put children at the forefront of the political agenda in Lao PDR.

All participants then started the “Fun Run” between Patuxay and the Presidential Palace, led by the sound of drums. Leaders, children, teachers walked side by side to express their support for the cause of children.

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Saykoson Sanoubane

Those who did not wish to walk or run enjoyed taking pictures with our World Children’s Day selfie frames, tested their knowledge with quizzes about WASH and nutrition and learned about UNICEF’s partners’ programmes and activities.

World Children’s Day in Laos: a successful first time
UNICEF Laos/2018/Saykoson Sanoubane

Another round of performances wrapped up the event before the sun reached its zenith, leaving Vientiane blue – but the celebrations are not over!