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Universal Children’s Day

Chantrea cooking in her family home
Chantrea cooking in her family home

Today (20th November) marks the annual United Nations Universal Children’s Day, a day established to promote understanding between children, and draw attention to the welfare of children across the world.

The day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the UN in 1956, and the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which took place on on 20th November 1989. The Convention on the Rights of the Child covers child-specific human rights and is signed by 193 countries.

SOS Children aim to ensure children can enjoy their right to the loving care of a family, an education, access to medical services, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

We understand the need for every child to have strong family foundations to maintain their wellbeing. We support children to stay with their biological families through difficult times, and where this is not possible we offer them a safe, permanent home in an SOS Children’s Village. 

“It is so peaceful and safe here”

Chantrea was born in the village of Tapoung village in Battambang province in Cambodia. After her mother died and her father abandoned the family, she was left alone to grow up in extreme poverty, before SOS Children stepped in to offer her a safe home and opportunities for the future.

Born into a poor farming family, Chantrea has eight brothers and sisters. When Chantrea was seven, her mother died of a bladder disease. A short while later, her father left home to marry another woman. The children were left alone to fend for themselves.

The children were dependent on the oldest brother, who took on odd jobs to support the family. But he struggled to find work, and they could barely make ends meet. Some days Chantrea would go out with her brothers and sisters to the nearby rice field to catch some fish, crabs or snails. None of the children could go to school.

When she was twelve, Chantrea’s life changed forever. After SOS Social Workers became aware of the family’s situation, they offered her and her two sisters a home at SOS Children's Village Battambang.

Their new SOS mother welcomed the children with open arms. No longer having to worry about having enough food to eat, the sisters could concentrate on enjoying their childhood. They were able to start attending school, and quickly made friends. Chantrea settled into her new life, and said: “It is so peaceful and safe here.”

Today, Chantrea is 17, and studying in Grade 12 at the local high school. Her favourite subject is Literature and she is confident in her classes. When she leaves the Village, Chantrea dreams of working in a big company. Thanks to the love and guidance of their SOS mother, Chantrea and her sisters have hope for their future.

You can give a child like Chantrea a home by sponsoring a child with SOS Children.