Now some people will think:
‘Oh that’s nice.
Let’s take the kids to a nice hotel for a buffet and some fun this weekend,’
not realizing the history behind this cherished day, some maybe not realizing how tough life can be as a poor child in a poor country.
First proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in 1925, the day was then established universally in 1954 to protect children, not teenagers, working long hours in dangerous circumstances, down coal mines, in factories or in small sweat shops.
It also aimed to allow all children from all walks of life to have access to an education.
Nearly 60 years later in Việt Nam some kids are still working or living on the street instead of being in school.
Education is expensive in this developing country and unless they qualify for the ‘poor but hardworking’ scholarships, then their future is crystal clear bar a miracle – poverty for life.
And then there are kids who genuinely can’t help themselves – the disabled.
“My bones have broken 30 times or more,” she says.
“We stopped counting because we thought that it didn’t matter anymore.
Crystal is my alter ego, because it is fragile and shiny,” she added.
“When I was small, I thought that being different is bad,” she says.
“And then, growing up with all the love of my family around me, they helped me realize my true quality and my true colors.
I realized it’s okay being Crystal.
It’s okay being vulnerable physically.
So, that’s why I’m proud to call myself Crystal, because I want people to see me as a girl who is vulnerable physically, but can be hard to break mentally.”
In October 2007, Việt Nam signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The body is also trying to help Việt Nam prevent discrimination and it insists that providing educational opportunities is critical, as there are few qualified teachers able to instruct children with learning challenges.
Phương Anh, who works as a Friend of UNICEF Việt Nam, said:
“The amount of support people gave me was so surreal.
Now, people would still come up to me and say that I inspired them.
What could be more amazing than that?”
The UNICEF report states that some children born with disabilities are cut off from society from the moment they are born with their birth going unregistered.
“The combined result is that children with disabilities are among the most marginalized people in the world.
Children living in poverty are among the least likely to attend their local school or clinic but those who live in poverty and also have a disability are even less likely to do so.
Gender is a key factor, as girls with disabilities are less likely than boys to receive food and care.
“Discrimination on the grounds of disability is a form of oppression,” the report says, noting that multiple deprivations lead to even greater exclusion for many children with disabilities.
“There is little accurate data on the number of children with disabilities, what disabilities these children have and how disabilities affect their lives.
As a result, few governments have a dependable guide for allocating resources to support and assist children with disabilities and their families.”
There needs to be a will, though, and politicians have to be strong to ensure that the most vulnerable people in society are protected.
Children around this country and around the world are still living in poverty through no fault of their own.
They didn’t ask to be born.
There is enough wealth to feed, clothe and educate the world’s children – but human greed gets in the way.
To quote the former UK Labour leader Michael Foot:
“We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress.
No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves.
That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth.
And if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them’.
The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves.
They always do.”
The kids need help.
Let’s help them.