Landmarks around the Philippines turned blue last Sunday, November 20, today to celebrate World Children’s Day—a day by children, for children. The Rizal Monument, the SM MOA Globe, the Office of the Bangsamoro Chief Minister, the Provincial Capitol of Dinagat Island and major expressways under the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation were awash in blue to impart an important message: that every child everywhere has a story to tell, regardless of their gender, race, status, and capabilities.
In September-October 2022, nearly half a million young people around the world who took part in a UNICEF U-Report poll said that discrimination is common in their environments such as school, community or workplace, and almost half of them felt that discrimination had impacted their lives or that of someone they know in a significant manner. In the Philippines, the most vulnerable children include children with disabilities, children who belong to indigenous groups, children living in poverty, and those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.
To celebrate children and their voices, young people, and adults who support them came together in “Sigaw ng Kabataan, Walang Iwanan,” a World Children’s Day event that rallied the public to listen and amplify their views. This included a children’s event with SM Mall of Asia and a three-day Children’s Congress in cooperation with the Cotabato City Government.
“Regardless of age, gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other status, every child deserves to be included and celebrated, as well as protected against all forms of discrimination. Children must have a say in decisions that affect them. Listening to their voices is crucial for inclusive development,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.
As a way to support children’s participation, UNICEF undertakes capacity building activities that enable children and youth groups to advocate for their own rights. For this year’s WCD celebrations, children from Southern Leyte, CARAGA, Cotabato and Valenzuela teamed up with creatives using dance, film and photography to allow others to view the world through their eyes.