Children: it's all about you

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2010, 12:00am

Universal Children's Day is celebrated every year around the world. It is not necessarily a holiday in every country, but rather a day to think about children's rights. It was started by Unicef - the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund


In October 1953, the International Union for Child Welfare in Geneva sponsored a holiday for children. The following year, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to create a Universal Children's Day. It was decided the day would be celebrated on November 20.

The date was important because the day before is International Men's Day. This meant that for 48 hours the world would celebrate men and children and how important they are to each other.


The purpose of Children's Day is to promote children's well-being. Its goals include bringing to the world's attention the bad conditions under which some children still live. It's a great opportunity to think about the differences between your lives and the lives of children around the world.

In some countries, children are not given proper medical treatment. They also don't have access to clean water, proper toilets and other basic necessities we take for granted. Every year, nearly 10 million children die of preventable diseases.

Extra special

November 20 is very special for children for two extra reasons. In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed on November 20 as well.

Special treats

In Thailand, different organisations have special treats for children. They can be free bus rides during the day, trips to the zoo, or special children's movies at local cinemas. The military can also give the children the chance to climb on tanks, army vehicles or aircraft on that day.

Schools in Sri Lanka hand out sweets and gifts to the students.

In Romania children get a day-off from school so they can visit museums and zoos for free.

In Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights (HKCCR) has planned special ways to celebrate Universal Children's Day this year. As November 20 falls on a Saturday, the committee suggests that schools adopt a suitable weekday to celebrate and also hold a fun fund-raising event.

The plan is for students and teachers to dress differently on that day. They could either 'dress down' or 'dress different'. Each participant is encouraged to donate HK$10 into a children's fund. The donations will be used for projects to promote the rights of children in Hong Kong.

To learn more about the programme, visit

The mainland

International Children's day is celebrated on June 1 in the mainland. This day is a holiday for children. Schools usually hold activities for students, such as camping trips or free movies. The children of civil servants may receive small gifts from the government.

The 2010 celebration

Germany has been chosen to host Universal Children's Day for Unicef this year. The festivities will be held in the city of Dusseldorf on the river Rhine. Organisers are expecting at least 100,000 visitors. The theme of this year's celebrations is 'Respect for Children'.

Dusseldorf activities

The German city will open its parliament to children on the special day. The programme will include an event called 'Politics - Easy as Child's Play'. And more than 90 organisations will have displays along the banks of the Rhine.

Activities for children will include arts and crafts workshops, book readings, musical performances, a circus, and plenty to eat and drink. Unicef will put on a display called 'Nutrition, Education, Health'.

Now do this

1 What does Unicef stand for?

a. United International Children's Educational Fund

b. United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund

c. Universal Chef's Fund

2 Which city is hosting the 2010 Unicef Universal Children's Day?

a. Darwin

b. Dunedin

c. Dusseldorf

3 What is the theme of the 2010 Unicef Universal Children's Day?

a. Respect for Children

b. Read to Children

c. Reason with Children


1. b, 2. c, 3. a