Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Children’s and Elders Day 2014:

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” 
- James A. Baldwin

Children and elders are innocent. They should be treated with love and affection. Elders are the carriers of knowledge and experience. Elders are first and foremost teachers and role models. They are vital in the teaching process from infancy to adulthood.

Every child is regarded as a treasure. They make this world beautiful. Children are so valuable. They are pure and innocent. Children are said to be like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression. They are the future of a country and it is only by taking care of them and guiding them on the correct path that discipline can be instilled in a country.

In Sri Lanka, International Elders Day and Children’s Day are both celebrated on October 1. The United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Elders from October 1, 1991 on December 14, 1990.

Elders’ Day is celebrated by raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly, such as senility and elder abuse. It is also a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society.


The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954. Universal Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children’s welfare.

Children’s Day is an event celebrated on various days in many places around the world. International Children’s Day is celebrated on June 1 and Universal Children’s Day is on November 20. The International Children’s Day had its origin in Turkey in 1920 and later in the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925.

On December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children’s Day to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world and promoting the welfare of children. It was recommended that individual countries should choose an appropriate date for this occasion.

At the time, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should establish a Children’s Day on an “appropriate” date. Many countries respected this recommendation and the Universal Children’s Day has since been annually observed on November 20.

On November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and on November 20, 1989, it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.

Universal Children’s Day is part of the work carried out by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. UNICEF’s logo consists of an image of a mother and child, a globe, olive branches and the word “UNICEF”. All parts of the logo are in UN’s blue color, although it may be presented in white on a blue background.


Many schools and other educational institutions make a special effort to inform children of their rights according to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Teachers stimulate their pupils to think about the differences between themselves and others and explain the idea of “rights”. In countries where the rights of children are generally well-respected, teachers may draw attention to situations in countries where this is not the case.

In some areas UNICEF holds events to draw particular attention to children’s rights. These may be to stimulate interest in the media around the world or to start nationwide campaigns, for instance on the importance of immunisations or breastfeeding.

Abuse takes place at home, in school, in institutions, at work, in the community, in armed conflict and natural disasters. Much violence against children, such as corporal punishment and sexual abuse, remains legal and socially approved in many countries.

The violence children face takes many forms, such as exploitation and abuse, trafficking, physical and humiliating punishment, harmful traditional practices and recruitment into armed forces and groups. Growing up with violence and abuse seriously affects a child’s development, dignity, and physical and psychological integrity.

It is the responsibility of every single person to safeguard children while taking care of the elders in society.

By Husna Inayathullah - Sunday Observer