Worldwide, it is estimated that 40 million children below the age of 15 suffer from abuse and neglect.[i]
In Canada, 60 per cent of all reported sexual assaults are against children.[ii]
In Edmonton, 1 in 6 children lives in poverty (ex. single parent family with two children living in Edmonton with an after-tax income under $26,628).[iii]
These statistics are depressing, I agree. There are far too many children in this world who suffer and it isn’t fair. The good news is, there are ways you can make a difference. One of those ways is by learning about Children’s Rights and acknowledging those rights on National Child Day, which is celebrated annually on November 20th (less than a one month away!).
National Child Day is a specially designated day to mark two historic events: the 1959 signing by Canada of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child; and the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. As a signatory of the Convention, Canada is obligated to comply with each of the articles listed. The three over-arching concepts of the Convention are:
- Children have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.
- Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care and to play.
- Children have the right to express their views about things that affect them and to participate in communities, programs and services.
Even though National Child Day is celebrated on November 20th, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be mindful about children’s rights every day. Children need support, encouragement and respect to grow to their full potential – and we each have a role to play. There are so many things you can do to help support the children in your community, such as:
- Collect and donate clothing, books and toys for a children’s charity.
- Become a mentor.
- Host a community event with proceeds to support children’s programs or charities.
- Do an art project with a child, celebrating their rights and responsibilities.
- Participate in the Blue Ribbon Campaign by making your own ribbons and sharing them with others. (Wearing a blue ribbon shows that you support Canada’s children having prime consideration in all economic, social and political decisions, policies, programs and expenditures.)
Every year, Success By 6® a community initiative managed by United Way of the Alberta Capital region celebrates National Child Day by trying to raise awareness about Children’s Rights through numerous activities and events. A brochure with more information about National Child Day can be downloaded from our website at www.successby6edmonton.info.
So as we approach National Child Day, I hope you can take some time to learn about Children’s Rights and remember that November 20th isn’t “just another day”. It’s a daily commitment that we all need to make towards supporting children’s rights, so that all children can grow up happy and healthy!
To learn more about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child visit:
Angela Wilson is a Communications Specialist with Success By 6, a community initiative managed by United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.
[i] World Health Organization, 2010
[ii] Canadian Center for Justice Statistics, 2001
[iii] Statistics Canada, Census, 2006