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Universal Day of the Child

Every child deserves to smile!
Every child deserves to smile!

Today is the Universal Day of the Child. This is a day when the world comes together to actively promote the welfare of children around the world. A huge aspect of this is drawing attention to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a promise made by governments all over the world to every single child on this very day 26 years ago.

The Convention represents a commitment to ensuring the welfare of children the world over and has been signed by nearly all of the 193 member states of the United Nations. There are 54 articles within the Convention, the first 42 of which are the rights every single child, no matter where they live, is entitled to. 

Rights of the Child
Click the image to see the Rights of the Child in youth-friendly language
These are just some of the rights enshrined by the Convention:

  1. The right to be alive
  2. The right to live with a family that cares for you
  3. The right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously
  4. The right to choose your own religion and beliefs
  5. The right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated 
  6. The right to special protection and help if you are refugee
  7. You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food and a clean and safe environment
  8. You have the right to a good education 
  9. You have the right to protection from work that harms you and the right to protection from any kind of exploitation.
  10. You have the right to protection and freedom from war 

To many of us, these rights are a given – we live in countries and societies where our government and other institutions work hard to protect children. However, for millions of children around the world, this is not the case.

Effie's story 

Effie, CV Tamale, Ghana
Effie now has her rights respected and protected
Meet Effie. Effie is five years old. She is one of the children cared for at SOS Children’s Village Tamale in Ghana. Here she has a loving family and a loving mother. She has enough to eat, clothes to wear and clean drinking water. She lives in a warm house and sleeps in a proper bed. She goes to nursery school and visits the doctor when she is ill. She is safe and she is loved.

But, it hasn’t always been this way for Effie. Not long ago she was living in a dilapidated house with her extended family. The only clothes she had was an old t-shirt. She had no shoes.

Malnourished and uncared for, Effie was forced to run errands for her sisters-in-law. Every day she would walk 10 kilometres to fetch firewood and bring home cassava and maize. She was often punished for not bringing home enough.

Effie was a child at risk. Her rights were not protected, instead they were trampled on.She faced abuse from the adults who were supposed to protect her.

Our commitment to the child at risk

At SOS Children’s Villages we are committed to helping children like Effie. We work hard to ensure that their rights are respected. There are as many as 220 million children at risk in the world today. Many of them are refugees, which is why we’re urgently calling on governments “to place child rights above all other concerns. Child refugees and migrants, especially unaccompanied or separated children, must be the priority.”

We've been working to protect and care for the most vulnerable children since 1949. Find out more about life in a Children's Village.