Rome (Italy). On 20 November 2021, the World Day of Childhood and Adolescents is celebrated, established in 1954 to improve the well-being of children and adolescents by promoting their fundamental rights internationally. The date of November 20 marks two important steps: in 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1989 it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes for boys and girls of the whole world civil, social, political, cultural, and economic rights.
The theme of the Day 2021, “A better future for every child”, is an invitation to listen to children and adolescents about the problems that affect their generation and their expectations towards a better future.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world in the last two years, has aggravated the situation of many children and their families by increasing the already existing inequalities.
The Annual Report, published by Unicef in June 2021, highlights the impact of the pandemic on the health of minors. 13% of the 71 million infections in 107 countries were of children and young people under the age of 20 and it is expected that over 6.7 million children under the age of 5 will suffer from acute malnutrition in the course of 2022. In developing countries, a 15% increase in child poverty is estimated, which will affect 142 million children.
The effects are also on education. It is estimated that of the 1.6 billion pupils who were unable to attend in person due to the lockdown, one third did not have the opportunity to take advantage of distance learning. Consequently, in the poorest countries, millions of children have permanently dropped out of school.
Committed to supporting the most vulnerable people, the International Volunteer Association for Women, Education, Development – VIDES, promoted by the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Youth Solidarity Volunteer Foundation Onlus – FVGS promoted by VIDES International, through activities and projects, promote children’s rights
FVGS Onlus operates in the poorest countries where the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians are present, to guarantee the right to health, proper nutrition, and education for over 3000 girls and boys, through Distance Support. In this time of emergency due to the pandemic, the FVGS Onlus has taken action to promote awareness campaigns aimed at the purchase of masks and soap as well as creating, thanks to the FMA present in the area, formation opportunities for children and their families, to convey the basic notions to protect themselves from Covid-19.
VIDES International, thanks to the support of benefactors, has been accompanying the FMA Community of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, of Mary Help of Christians Province (VTN) since 2017 in the mission of promoting the right to quality education for minors in situations of extreme vulnerability through the project “A school for migrant children in the Tam Ha district, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City”.
The project made it possible to build a new school, ready to welcome around 1000 students every year, who will have access, many for the first time, to a holistic educational path that focuses on their rights, needs, and aspirations. The school was designed to ensure a peaceful growth space for the children of migrant families forced to leave their homes in rural areas, to move to the outskirts of the capital of Vietnam in search of decent work.
These children uprooted from their villages, often arrive in the capital without documents and therefore cannot attend school, thus fueling the phenomenon of child labor. Through this initiative, VIDES International and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have already welcomed more than 2000 children in the first two years of activity, giving them a future full of hope and light.
“Children are the future of the human family; all of us have the task of promoting their growth, health, and serenity!”.