What do children think poverty is? What do children living in poverty need? In many instances, parents are asked these questions and decide what children need, but they forget to ask children their opinions. In celebration of Universal Children's Day CCF is highlighting the "voices" of children who have shared their thoughts and feelings. Youth want to be heard and contribute to making a difference in their community and in the world.
November 20th is Universal Children's Day. It marks the day on which the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. It's a day to work together worldwide and reflect on the needs of children, devoting the day to promote the welfare of the children.
What Poverty Means to Children in the US
Three youth groups from CCF programs in the United States answered questions from the United Nations on Poverty. Read their answers to questions on poverty and the solutions they recommend.
1. Can you describe a child or young person who is poor?
Answers: Can’t afford food; wears the same cloths; parents drink a lot; some people don’t have houses; they don’t have running water for showers; teens are breaking into houses because their parents don’t buy them clothes.
2. You have an opportunity to tell world and community leaders what they need to do to end poverty. What do you want to tell them?
• Help parents get jobs
• Create more jobs
• Build houses for people who live on the streets, or whose houses have burned down, or bigger houses for big families
• Make a treatment center for people with addictions, like alcohol and drugs
• Build play grounds
• Build recreation center for kids
• Close down bars
On CCF Radio Programs-- Children's Voices are Loud and Clear
In Sri Lanka's tsunami-affected areas, children participate in a radio program designed help to voice their concerns and deal with critical issues such as child protection and child rights. In India the "Children First" program facilitates 20 radio programs. Many participants lost their parents in the 2004 tsunami and children tell their stories on these programs.
These radio programs are planned and conducted solely by children ages 12 to 18. The key objectives of the programs are:
• To improve child participation in recovery activities
• To create of a dialogue with children and the community on child protection and development issues
• To create awareness of the U.N.'s "Convention on the Rights of Children"
Children along with parents, government officers and CCF staff decide on themes for the radio programs. The themes are based on child rights and child protection and include specific topics such as:
• Wellbeing and development of children
• Listening to children
• Right to expression
• Non-discrimination of children
• Living together as a family
• Rights of the children with disabilities
• Protection from alcohol and drugs
• Involving child participation in family and community decision making
“If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.” -- Marian Wright Edelman