International Children’s Day has been an annual observance for nearly 100 years since it was first proclaimed a commemorative date to honour children during the 1925 World Conference on Child Welfare. Given the importance of improving children’s welfare and promoting international togetherness among children worldwide deserves attention more than one day a year, why not continue to celebrate and honour children by dedicating your time to telling kids about other children’s experiences and exploring ways to reach out to those children through giving. Today’s conversations can create a ripple effect that continues to empower change and build brighter futures for children.
You may choose to direct attention to areas where children are in a state of emergency or crisis. Bring the experiences of other children’s living conditions to light, showing how some children do not have access to things many of us take for granted, like food, water, shelter, safety, and education. Make online research part of the process, engaging children in a topic or area of their choosing or educating and inspiring young givers to speak out, claim their rights and lead the way to the world all children deserve. Of course, the age of the children involved will dictate the issues discussed, as some conversations, such as child marriage, may be too intense for younger children. Whatever your approach – in a world where millions of children face hurt, harm and hunger – creating conversations about every child’s right to health, education and protection while exploring ways to reach out to other children can become an integral part of your daily giving routine. Here are some ideas to get you started on your giving this month:
- Child refugees: More than 100 days of the war in Ukraine have had a devastating toll on children. With 60% of all Ukrainian children forced from their homes, millions have been displaced – leaving everything they have ever known behind in search of safety. According to UNICEF, children make up half of all refugees from the war in Ukraine, and around the world, 50 million children escaping conflict and natural disasters have become refugees. With this many vulnerable children uprooted from their homes, starting conversations about how we can help refugee families and their children feel welcome and safe. Being a volunteer at refugee organizations can have a significant impact. Of course, the fastest way to help children affected by the war in Ukraine is to make a monetary donation – here are 5 organizations accepting donations to help families fleeing the invasion by Russia.
- Child hunger: With world hunger steadily rising, driven largely by conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, childhood hunger can be found in every community. Over 800 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night, including 14 million children under the age of five, children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Discuss childhood hunger around the world and in your own community. Get kids involved in collecting items to donate to a local food bank or organizing a non-perishable food drive in your neighbourhood. Younger kids can help pick up nutritious items and deliver them. Older kids (generally over 14) can donate time and volunteer at the food bank. Also, consider making a donation to Feed The Children, an organization working towards ending hunger for children everywhere.
- Child poverty: Nearly half of the world’s population lives in poverty, leading to 1 billion children worldwide living in poor conditions and at a higher risk for stress, anger, and depression. Learn more about child poverty in your area and around the world. Create awareness-raising posters to post in classrooms or on social media. Have kids clean out their rooms and donate clothes and toys to a local shelter, or write letters to elected officials about the root causes of child poverty and the urgent need to end it now. Also, consider donating to Children International, a charity focused on ending poverty worldwide through health, education, and social programs designed to address childhood poverty.
- Childhood illiteracy: Literacy is much more than the ability to read or write; it is the means through which we empathize, communicate, and deepen our understanding of the world – yet 393 million children worldwide are unable to read, losing their ability to join in. According to the Lost Potential Tracker, the number of children who, by the age of 10, are unable to read and understand a simple sentence is increasing. This is a global learning crisis that needs to be addressed. The good news is there are lots of ways kids can learn more about and work towards helping other kids with their literacy. Create reading buddies where older kids read to younger kids. Collect kids’ books and donate them to family shelters, libraries or hospital waiting rooms. Or create a little free library in your front yard catering to early readers in your neighbourhood.
- Gender inequality: From the moment they are born, girls and boys face unequal access to resources and opportunities, which leads to lifelong consequences in their homes, schools, and communities. One devastating example of gender inequality is child marriage, which threatens the lives, well-being, and futures of more than 14 million girls each year. Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience intimate partner violence and less likely to remain in school. It also takes a heavy toll on their physical and psychological well-being, isolating them from their family and friends and excluding them from participation in their communities. Studies suggest that involving youth in solutions may be the answer – not only because young people make up approximately half of the population in many countries where child marriage is common – but because providing girls with opportunities to develop social networks and learn leadership skills encourages them to become agents of change. Talking to kids about gender equality and the rights of women and girls empowers young advocates to speak out, fight gender stereotypes and do their part to create a better future for everyone. Inspire others to champion gender quality and women’s rights and consider donating to organizations protecting girls from child marriage, like Rescue Samburu Girls in Kenya, which rescues, empowers, and provides long-term solutions for girls fleeing child marriage.
Talking to kids about justice issues like these is not always easy, but it is transformative. These conversations go beyond the HOW of giving to inform the WHY and create giving ripples that continue for generations. Looking for more ways to get kids involved? Have them join our growing global community of happy changemakers by signing up for the 365give Challenge, where they can continue to reach out to other children one day, and one give at a time.