Sometimes it is easy to dismiss children – maybe too easy. I remember my grandmother, bless her heart, from time to time would remind me, “Children are to be seen, not to be heard.” While this might be a saying that sounds familiar to many of you, there is no denying that we have to be more willing to listen to children. Too many times, children are unheard. It is too often that their voices are silenced and their cries for help go unanswered.
As adults, parents, guardians and community members, we are required to provide shelter, food and education for our young. It is our responsibility as a community to nurture and provide for the needs of children. It is the very fact that children rely on adults to provide for them that makes them such a vulnerable group.
The truth of the matter is, every year millions of children are trafficked for the sole purpose of making money. These children are often forced to work in sweatshops, brothels, on farms, and even as soldiers in wars (UNICEF, 2018). These are millions of children who are hurt and forced to live their lives as adults.
It is truly sad that so many of our children around the world are subjected to abuse and exploitation. And to make matters worse, now it is up to adults to stop this from happening. That’s why it is important to understand that children have the right to be protected from violence, and they have the right to a happy life, adequate health care and a quality education.
November 20th is Universal Children’s Day – a day dedicated to hearing the voices of our young people. This day of celebration and Universal Children’s Week are aimed at upholding the ideals of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Save the Children, 2018). These documents were established and passed by the United Nations General Assembly to honor the rights of children as world citizens. Universal Children’s Week is about recognizing that children, all children, have the right to be treated as humans; all children do indeed have the right to be heard.
As the talented Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future.” Imagine how bright it could be if not only did we see them, but also if we found it equally important to hear them. Children will develop the world, but they will do so as we model it for them. We should make a conscious decision to protect them and show them equality, tolerance and the meaning of community. We owe it to them to offer a little optimism, and to offer a little hope.
Here at Hope Wanted, hope is our middle name. Well, actually Hope is our first name, but you get the gist. Hope is what we are all about. We celebrate Universal Children’s Day on November 20th and every day. We believe in empowering and investing in our children, our future. The Children’s and Youth Services Division of Hope Wanted are dedicated to providing programs and services that meet the needs of our young people. We would love for you to join us in this effort. You can sign up to volunteer here. As always, stay informed and stay involved.
Save the Children. Universal Children’s Day: Tuesday, November 20, 2018. https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/events/universal-childrens-day
UNICEF. (2018). Child Trafficking. https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/trafficking
Picture: The Pulse Nigeria (11 August 2015).
Blog Author: Dr. P. K. Wayne