Making a difference for local children on Universal Children’s Day

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Children and youth before the marathon starts. Photo by Florida Bonjo

Each year, thousands of children around the world celebrate Universal Children’s day in order to remind the world that children have rights and these rights must be respected, not just be mentioned.

Celebrations were held in Albania and Kosovo as well as many other countries around the world.  Children and youth worked together with World Vision to make something the day special; something to remind themselves and the world of the rights that children must enjoy.

Tirana Area Development Programme (ADP) decided to do this in a distinctive way. They organized a marathon; the marathon of children’s rights.  More than 60 children participated.

Each child wore a t-shirt that had one of their rights written on it and together, they ran through the city where the streets were full of people: parents supporting their children, school children supporting their friends, and curious pedestrians. Everyone wanted to know what was happening in their streets and why there was a traffic jam.

“I like this curiosity,” says Enio, a 16-year-old boy who took part in the marathon. “I like it, because thanks to their curiosity people can learn more about things that they should know. People know that children have rights, but that’s all. If you ask them about these rights, [what they are] I am sure they would not be able to answer you.”

Kledisa, a 16-year-old girl also participated.“I took part in this marathon because for me is very important to show our rights to the people who are around us.  We have legal rights and we want these rights to be applied,” she says.

“All week, we have been working with the children to make the preparations for these activities,” says Diana, World Vision staff member from Tirana ADP.“The marathon was a demonstration of youth fighting for their rights. The purpose was to awareness [among] children, parents and education institutions about the rights of children,” she added.

World Vision supported a number of activities that happened that day, not only in Tirana, but across Albania and Kosovo. The purpose is not just to organize something, but to help children and youth develop their abilities to organize different events.

After the marathon the youth organized a show called: “Celebrate our rights together, by the youth for the youth”.  Eljona, a 16-year-old girl (who was part of this show) said that one of the purposes of this show was to teach the children how to deal with the violence in their daily lives as well as other violence situations that could arise.

Universal Children’s day continues all year.

Children choose to use the nearly 128,000 Albanian Lek (90 Euros)they collected from selling tickets to the show and other donations, to restore the yard of a school in the Bathore area.

As Fatjoni, 16, pointed out, this is just the beginning. “We are not going to stop only by collecting money here at the auditorium, we are going to continue our campaign of raising money and we are going to use this money to make a school of this area a better place for the  a hundred of children who study there,” he said.

The marathon and the show were also supported by City Hall of Kamza and Bathore municipality. This collaboration between World Vision and these institutions is a good example for these children to see that by collaborating together it is easier to fight and to win the battles of life.

News Source : Making a difference for local children on Universal Children’s Day

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