Universal Children’s Day
The 20th of November marks the anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly’s ratification of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. The UN went on to recognise this date as Universal Children’s Day – a day of worldwide solidarity, fellowship, and mutual understanding among the world’s children. By celebrating this day each year, people from around the world reaffirm their commitment to promoting children’s welfare.
Since 2006, AC-AF has celebrated World AIDS Day with the children of Ubungo in Dar es Salaam, giving the children a forum to express themselves and display their incredible talents. In 2012, AC-AF extended our programming to include Universal Children’s Day, increasing the number of children and youth in Dar es Salaam that we can reach with our activities.
Over 700 students joined together from 7 primary schools and 1 secondary school in the wards of Ubungo and Sinza, to celebrate Universal Children’s Day at Mlimani City (a local shopping centre in Dar es Salaam). The day’s theme—One Voice for One Future— emphasized AC-AF’s belief that children can be leaders in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and act as a unifying force in their communities. With this in mind, and in keeping with spirit of Universal Children’s Day, all of the activities that AC-AF planned involved cooperation, strength, solidarity, and creativity – all key elements in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The days proceedings started on a serious note with all of the children encouraged to observe a short silence remembering friends or family members who are no longer with us. But the fun soon began with children competing in a t-shirt design competition, a tug of war tournament, a push up competition, and a quiz show that tested them on their knowledge of HIV and AIDS in addition to children’s rights. There was also a special musical performance by students from Ubungo Modern Secondary School as the overall winners of our 2011 World AIDS Day celebrations (and plenty of opportunities for singing and dancing throughout the day). All of the children were also asked to decorate and write messages on red AIDS ribbons and pink hearts and brought together in a large collage, bringing together their thoughts and feelings about the impact that HIV and AIDS has had upon them.
Even with a day filled with lots of fun and laughter, the message of the day was not forgotten. Children and youth have the power to bring communities together and create the change needed in the fight against HIV and AIDS.