On World Children's Day, a special message to kids from UNICEF's Representative in Rwanda
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To all children and young people in Rwanda, let me begin by wishing you a happy World Children’s Day.
This is one of my favourite days of the year. It is a global day of action, for children and by children. It is a special day when UNICEF, young people, and our partners celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is an important day to recognize the progress we have made to fulfil children’s rights, while also looking forward at the work we still need to do.
Last year, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and what we have achieved for children in Rwanda. We held a TEDxKids, where 10 young people stepped on stage and shared emotional, inspiring stories of how they have claimed their rights. We organized a “Kids Takeover”, where several young students played the part of the European Union ambassador for the day.
And at last year’s National Children’s Summit, over 500 children gathered in front of political decision makers, development partners, and civil society to present over a dozen resolutions to demand further progress towards fulfilling children’s rights.
This year, World Children’s Day is taking place during a unique and challenging moment in history. COVID-19 has transformed the lives of children like you, but UNICEF is there for you. We are committed to advancing your rights amidst this pandemic and beyond, and as always, we look forward to sharing ideas with you.
We know that this pandemic is having a big impact on you and your families. COVID-19 may not have directly impacted your health, but it also affects your safety, your well-being and your future. The coronavirus pandemic has caused children around the world to miss out on basic healthcare. It has cut children off from education and often left them without protection.
That is why UNICEF launched its global “Reimagine” campaign this year, calling on partners, governments, and all our UNICEF supporters to build a better post-COVID world, for you and for all of us. Like you, we refuse to accept that we should return to “normal” after the pandemic, because “normal” was not good enough.
World Children’s Day is an important moment in the Reimagine campaign, because it is a major opportunity for you to share your solutions and for UNICEF to amplify your voices as you speak out on issues like education, health, and employment. When children and young people like you participate and engage in decision-making processes and demand that your voices are heard and your rights fulfilled, UNICEF and our partners have no choice but to respond.
There are many ways for you to get involved. UNICEF’s Voices of Youth platform is open to you, where you can share your thoughts, ideas, and creative skills to speak out about how you envision a post-COVID world.
You can join your local children’s committee, a fantastic and unique platform in Rwanda where children convene to demand their rights and follow up on commitments from decision makers.
You can mobilize your own social media platforms to engage with your friends, colleagues and organizations like UNICEF to understand the work being done for children in Rwanda, propose your own ideas, and share positive impact.
If you want to learn more about the rights you are entitled to, try playing UNICEF’s new game, “Right Runner.” It has already been downloaded over 125,000 times from the Apple and Google Play stores.
And if you have other ideas of more ways you think you can get involved; our doors are always open to you. We want to work alongside children and young people like you every day – not only on World Children’s Day.
Together we can reimagine a better world, for every child. Murakoze, and happy World Children’s Day.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Rwanda, visit www.unicef.org/rwanda.
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