United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) India marked the World Children's Day celebrations on November 18 with a festive event and friendly match between children and some of the renowned celebrities in the country. This year's celebrations revolved around the themes of inclusion, equality and non-discrimination, and the organisation decided to pass the message through a game of ball.
UNICEF is an organisation that has, time and again, taken its services to the most remote and disadvantaged communities. They have worked with children in 190 countries and have made efforts to build a better world for each and every child. As a part of this objective, they bring together and celebrate every child across the country on World Children's Day.
Celebrating Each And Every Child
Hundreds of children gathered at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium in South Delhi to celebrate Children's Day with UNICEF. Promoting ideas of inclusion, equality, and non-discrimination is the theme for this year's Children's Day, and the organisation sorted sports as the best channel to take this message to the children. Sport is a field that demands children to showcase qualities of leadership, discipline, teamwork, tolerance, hard work and cooperation, among other qualities.
Building on this idea rightly, UNICEF Representative to India, Ms Cynthia McCaffrey, said they would be "fighting discrimination and symbolically kicking it out of the park through sports."
Following this, 20 children played a friendly futsal match by teaming up with world-renowned cricketer and UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood Star and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate Ayushmann Khurrana. Accompanying the sports activities, there were several performances and choreographed festivities, sending out an important message that every child deserves to be celebrated, included, and treated equally - "whoever they are and wherever they live."
Reinforcing this message was yet another UNICEF Celebrity Advocate and renowned musician Ricky Kej, who conducted a musical concert for, about, and with the children. The show was specially crafted and performed to inspire change and encourage children to tap into their creativity and become those changemakers. Nearly a hundred children rendered artistic performances depicting the ideas of unity in diversity.
Toward A Brighter Tomorrow
McCaffrey made it a point to convey that the celebrations are a time for all to "renew our collective promises for every child, especially girls, to be included and protected and reach their full potential, unhindered by gender stereotypes, inequalities, and other barriers."
Joining along in the celebrations, Smt Meeta Rajivlochan from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, pitched in that "The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports focuses on tailored and holistic wellbeing and development of young people." This was followed by her calling for people to commit to ensuring that every child and young individual in the country has access to the resources, skills, opportunities, and spaces where they could voice their views to lead India toward a brighter future.
After the futsal match with the children, Tendulkar and Khuranna were invited to speak about the initiative. Stating that he has always believed in the liberating power held by sports, Tendulkar said that it "helps us be better human beings." Adding on to it further, he noted that sports play an even more particular role in the life of girls and women as it equips them with a sense of power and confidence to make their mark. This was reflected throughout the match, where both boys and girls tried their hand at scoring their way to victory.
Speaking about the team spirit that builds along the line of the match, Khurrana said, "When we play, we become a team and realise that our determination, passion, and enthusiasm are all that matter. This is what we are here to celebrate. Let's empower girls and boys to promote equality and inclusion for all children."
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