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International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers – 12 February

End Violence Against Children

One in every six children live in conflict zones. Each day these children must navigate extreme risks of violence, psychological trauma, abduction, and abuse.
 
And thousands of these children are caught in the eye of storm each year, recruited and used as soldiers in armed conflicts across the world. Between 2005 and 2020, more than 93,000 children were recruited and used by armed groups. 8,500 of these cases were reported to authorities in 2020 alone, and the actual number of cases is believed to be much higher.
 
On 12 February, Red Hand Day is catalysing advocacy efforts from around the world to raise awareness about children recruited for armed conflict. Civil society, governments and international organisations are coming together to demand that children not be used in armed groups or other military units and to promote peace, aid and support for child soldiers.

No child should be a soldier in combat

Children in combat is more than just a child holding a weapon. Those recruited are forced into hardorzous child labour, hired as spies or looters, and forced to kill. Recruited children are often taken in by force, abduction, or even compelled by families for income and food. 

There is risk of abuse and sexual violence, especially for girls. Trafficking of children, particularly for sexual exploitation which disproportionately affects young girls and women, has been found in all conflict areas across the world.

Since 2002, the UN has instated the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Ratified by 172 countries, it states the commitment that children under the age of 18 should not participate in military organisations of any kind and that recruitment for such purposes must be actively prevented. Yet, the UN’s 2021 report on Children and Armed Conflict notes that at least 15 countries have cases of recruitment and use of children in settings that need humanitarian assistance.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.end-violence.org/articles/red-hand-day

Global Day of Parents – 1st June

HISTORY OF GLOBAL DAY OF PARENTS

Parents are a beacon of a child’s life. They lay the foundation for children, and nurture and equip them with the skills that are necessary throughout life. Parents protect their children and make countless selfless sacrifices to ensure their growth. 

On Global Parents Day, children express their gratitude to their parents for all that they have done for them. Really, our relationship with our parents is the most important and true bond that most of us will ever have, and our parents’ dedication towards us is respected and cherished on this day. Those of us who have a friendship with our parents and are able to have a healthy relationship based on trust and respect rather than authority or strict guardianship are lucky. It is truly a blessing to have good parents. 

It goes both ways, with parents also recognizing that they have a primary responsibility towards their offspring and the importance of their roles in the development of their children. It is essential for a child to grow up in a healthy environment with healthy boundaries, and parents are the best role models for that. Studies show that trauma and emotional wounds sustained by a child greatly hinders their development and outlook on life, and are an overall barrier to achieving the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. It may not seem much at face value, but parenting has an impact on economic prosperity and social development. 

During the 1980s, the United Nations started to focus on issues related to the family, and how the emotional- and mental well-being of a child branches out into other spheres of development on a large scale. On December 9, 1989, the General Assembly passed a resolution that proclaimed the year 1994 as the International Year of the Family. In another resolution in 1993, May 15 was decided on as the day for the observance of the International Day of the Families, every year. 

On September 17, 2012, the United Nations declared June 1 as the day to observe Global Day of Parents. The day aims to stimulate awareness of the importance of parenthood and its role in providing protection and the tools needed for positive development in children. Parents are, after all, the first teachers and human interaction that a child is exposed to. Community leaders, parents, children, teachers, and family organizations get together in celebrating the day and promoting effective parenting.

 

Source: Text: https://nationaltoday.com/global-day-parents/    Image: pexels (Vidal Balielo Jr.)

International Day of Radio and Television for Children – 6 March

The International Day of Radio and Television for Children takes place on 6 March. This is a day when media professionals from around the world put themselves on the same page as children.

They broadcast quality programs for children. Most importantly, they give children the opportunity to participate in the production of programs, to talk about their hopes and ambitions and to exchange information among them.

International Day of Radio and Television for Children March 06

Celebrity Television

The Day is a joint initiative of UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Every year, thousands of radio and television personalities in more than a hundred countries take part in the Day, celebrating it in such exceptional and special forms as the children themselves.

The International Day of Radio and Television for Children is now a tradition in Latin America that has been participating in International Day every year since 1994.

The actions

As part of this International Day, producers around the world are invited to devote programming to the situation of children and to giving children the opportunity to participate in the production of programs.

It enables these media to exploit the power of television and radio to raise awareness of the problems of children. At the “International Day of Radio and Television for Children” in 1998, some 2000 organizations in 170 countries broadcast special programs on children, often prepared by children.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.vdio.com/international-day-of-radio-and-television-for-children-march-06/

Ash Wednesday, Year A – 2023

Children like to exchange secrets as they whisper to one another.
Teenagers will hide their secrets in a very private diary.
Spies, of course, are masters of the secret world.
Lovers, it is said, thrive on well-guarded secrets of their own.

Could it be that even… God enjoys secrets?
Today’s gospel text would lead us to believe so (Matthew 6:1-6,16-18).
Three times, Jesus repeats:

“Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The gospel message could be summarized in these words:
When we want to please God, we should not be acting a part in public.
Praying, fasting, giving alms – these special actions that we are advised to do in this period of Lent –
should be done only and purely “in secret” – with the sole intention of coming closer to God.

The temptation can arise to impress others with our self-denial, or our generosity.
Pretending to be holy is not the genuine holiness, but make-believe.
Showing off under the guise of religious observance is something fictitious.

Jesus’ message is clear and direct:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. 
If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Intimacy with God – which is what Lent invites us to – is best achieved “in secret”.
This is THE way to God’s presence experienced in deed and in truth…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/mercredi-des-cendres-annee-a-2023/

 

Source: Image: God’s Kingdom Come – She Reads Truth

 

International Childhood Cancer Day – 15 February

HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL CHILDHOOD CANCER DAY

Childhood Cancer International, a network of parent organizations that spans continents, instituted International Childhood Cancer Day to ensure that children with cancer get the best possible care. The day is set aside to raise awareness about childhood cancers and the treatments available for these diseases. Every year, more than 400,000 children, teenagers, and young adults under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. While cancer is one of the leading causes of death from disease among children, the actual number of children who die because of cancer has reduced over the years.

Most cancers have effective treatments and management methods that have increased the survival rate significantly. Childhood cancers require specialized treatment plans developed by pediatric oncologists, and this day helps to publicize the existence of such treatments. International Childhood Cancer Day was also instituted to improve treatment rates and reduce the pain and suffering caused by cancer among children around the globe. While the chances of full recovery for children with cancer can reach 80% in countries that have a high G.D.P., in the middle and lower-income countries, the chances can slip down to 20%.

The I.C.C.D. focuses on the importance of equitable access to treatment for cancer among children who are suffering or are survivors of cancer. It works to ensure that all over the world, children have access to the best possible care, and can overcome the difficulties cancer poses to them and their quality of life. The initiative aims to make childhood cancer a priority in the world. It works in line with the WHO Global Initiative on Childhood Cancer towards a 60% survival rate for children with cancer.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://nationaltoday.com/international-childhood-cancer-day/

World Polio Day – 24 October

World Polio Day highlights the global efforts to end poliomyelitis (polio) worldwide. Polio is a life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus, which the World Health Assembly committed to eradicate in 1988. The WHO European Region was declared polio-free in 2002 and has sustained this status every year since then.

Every year on 24 October, we observe World Polio Day to raise awareness of the importance of polio vaccination to protect every child from this devastating disease, and to celebrate the many parents, professionals and volunteers whose contributions make polio eradication achievable.

To ensure a polio-free future for everyone, efforts must continue to maintain high immunization coverage, implement high-quality surveillance to detect any presence of the virus, and prepare to respond in the event of an outbreak.

Source: Text: WHO   Image: Vecteezy

 

World Cerebral Palsy Day – 6 October

About World Cerebral Palsy Day

Cerebral palsy is one of the least understood disabilities and people with cerebral palsy are often out of sight, out of mind and out of options in communities around the world. This needs to change.

World Cerebral Palsy Day on 6 October was created by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in 2012 and now brings together people living with cerebral palsy, their families, allies, supporters and organisations across more than 100 countries. All with the aim to ensure a future in which children and adults with cerebral palsy have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society.

About Cerebral Palsy

There are more than 17 million people across the world living with cerebral palsy. Another 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with cerebral palsy. It is the most common physical disability in childhood. Cerebral palsy is a permanent disability that affects movement. Its impact can range from a weakness in one hand, to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement.

It is a complex disability:

  • 1 in 4 children with cerebral palsy cannot talk
  • 1 in 4 cannot walk
  • 1 in 2 have an intellectual disability
  • 1 in 4 have epilepsy.

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability and there is no known cure.

 

Source: Text: https://worldcpday.org/   Image: iStock

Earth Day – 22 April 2022

All TOGETHER now!

This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate. Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our familiesour livelihoods… together, we must Invest In Our Planet.

Because a green future is a prosperous future.

We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.

And while there is still time to solve the climate crisis, time to choose BOTH a prosperous and sustainable future, and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children, time is short.

The Earth Day 2022 Theme is Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?

 

Source: Text: www.earthday.org    Image: www.radio.gov.pk

25th Sunday of Year B – 2021

To move from the written words to what they express…
To go beyond images to perceive what they describe…
To understand situations to the point of perceiving the reality they suggest…

This is the task that we are faced with in trying to understand the texts of Scripture, especially those of the gospel.
 
In simple words it means: to appropriate a text, to make it my own.
It demands of me that I try to discover what it really means in my own life.
The gospel text of this Sunday (Mark 9:30-37) can serve as an example.
The last verse mentions the words of Jesus:
 
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me
does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”   

If someone were to ask you: ‘Did you ever welcome God?’,
you would probably hesitate to say ‘Yes’, or ‘No’.
But, did you ever welcome a child… in the name of Jesus?
If so, you have indeed welcomed God!

We should NOT see this reflection as some grammatical exercise, it is so much more than that!
It leads us to read the words of Scripture no longer as simply some sacred writings that we should understand and remember.

It enables us to receive the word of God addressed to us personally.
God’s message wants to reach us in our here-and-now situation, whatever it is at any given time.

If we allowed God’s words – God’s Word Himself in Jesus – to address us in such a personal way…
what a change this would make!

You need not take my word for it but… try it!

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: www.daily-prayers.org

25th Sunday of Year A – 2020

It happens that we witness situations that go against what we would expect; what we see is totally different from the usual way.
At such times, someone can exclaim: “It’s the world upside down!”

I suppose that the last verse of this Sunday’s gospel (Mt.20:1-16) would lead us to say the same as we hear:

“The last will be first, and the first will be last.”
 
With God, it seems to be the reality in so many ways! A world… upside down!
It is a world where:

  • the sick can touch the Master and be cured
  • the lepers are not kept at a distance
  • the sinners are not condemned without an offer of forgiveness
  • the children are not sent away by adults too serious
  • the Law is at the service of people, not the other way around.

It is a world where the lowly, the impure, the outcast, the rejected, the unworthy are accepted and saved.
A world where… we, too, would feel welcomed – if we accept to take on Jesus’ way.

This way – God’s way – the prophets had spoken about it in his name (1st reading: Is.55:6-9).
Jesus came to live it in our midst inviting us to follow him on this way.

A world upside down but… where it is so good to live!
« The kingdom of God », nothing less!

 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: World of Empowerment