To commemorate the UNIVERSAL CHIL-DREN’S DAY 1967, the Pakistan Post Office is issuing one postage stamp of 15 Paisa denomination on 2nd October 1967. Every year, commu-nities around the world observe Universal Children’s Day by parades, games, speeches, and festive activities, especially in schools. The date recommended by the General Assembly for the celebration of Universal Children’s Day is the first Monday in October (October 2 this year). The theme chosen for this year is “Challenge: Good Nutrition for All Children”.
The gap that separates the rich and poor countries in today’s world is nowhere more dramatically apparent than in the matter of nutrition, especially child nutrition. Children everywhere need the same complement of proteins vitamins and energy foods if they are to grow up to be healthy, vigorous citizens; but while a mino-rity of the world’s children have access to these foods in abun-dance, the great majority do not. Jn the developed countries today, hunger is almost unknown among children. Scurvy rickets and other nutritional deficiency diseases, once common in these countries, have been virtually wiped out.
In contrast, about three-quarters of the world’s children are growing up in countries where most people consider them-selves fortunate to get enough food of any kind to allay the persistent pangs of hunger. No one really knows how many of these children are seriously malnourished. It is certain that millions do not get enough to eat merely in terms of calories. Many more millions suffer from vitamin and mineral defici-encies. The most common deficiency of all in the diet of young children is lack of sufficient high quality protein. How grave a matter this is becomes evident if we recall that protein is the very “stuff of life” out of which all our bodily tissues are fashioned.
The challenge of providing good nutrition for all the world’s children will not be an easy one to meet. It will require the revitalization of agriculture in most of the developing countries as well as a vast educational programme at the family and com-munity level. It will also require a much higher level of assis-tance from the “Well-fed” industrialized countries than is now forthcoming.
But the challenge is not one we can afford to neglect if we hope to see the human race make any real progress towards bridging the gulf between the rich and poor countries. Mal-nourished children do not grow up to become the kind of vigor-ous, healthy citizens on whom progress depends. Malnutrition strikes at the very roots of development by sapping the health and vitality of the rising generation. The nutrition campaigns now being conducted in the developing countries with the aid of various United Nations, government-to-government, and voluntary assistance agencies deserve the whole-hearted support of everyone concerned with the future of the human race.
Three of the U.N. Agencies in particular have directed their efforts toward food and nutrition problems for many years; UNICEF, FAO and WHO. Increasingly, UNICEF FAO and WHO began to work together to devise programmes to get at the roots of the problems, programmes which offered hope for more permanent long-range solutions. FAO and WHO provide technical advice and experts to assist in design-ing and conducting programmes when requested by the coun-tries concerned. UNICEF supplies material assistance; garden tools, seeds, insecticides, fertilizers; incubators and other equip-ment for poultry and egg production; equipment for fish production in ponds or for harvesting and marketing fish from natural waters; equipment for school feeding operations, edu-cation-demonstrations; vehicles and other equipment which is not locally available but essential for the planned programme. Equally important, UNICEF supplies financial and other as-sistance for training of personnel. In terms of long-range im-pact, this could be the most important facet of the programme. The challenge of good nutrition for all the world’s children can only be met through intensified efforts in every country and by the international community as a whole. It is a challenge none of us can afford to shirk if we hope to see a brighter future for the human race. National and world development begins with the child, and the child’s development must begin with proper nutrition.
Universal Children’s Day in Pakistan is sponsored by the Pakistan Council for Child Welfare in co-operation with the Government, Regional Councils & national member agencies throughout Pakistan. Through the efforts of the Council the Day has become known all over Pakistan and is celebrated even in far flung areas of the country. The celebrations consist of a weeklong activities like seminars, symposia, children-fairs, art and crafts exhibitions, variety programmes, march-pasts, etc. The Day is inaugurated by the President of Pakistan through his personal message on the Radio followed by messages from the dignitaries of the country and abroad. On the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day held on 3rd October, 1966, the President of Pakistan Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, N.Pk., H.J., said:
“Pakistan like other members of the United Nations Orga-nisation, is once again celebrating the Universal Children’s Day throughout the country this year. This is one of those occasions which remind us of our deep responsibilities and sacred duties towards children, on whom the future destiny of a Nation depends.” President of Pakistan decorated the recipients of the Pre-sident’s Awards for Children for the period from the year 1960 to 1965. They belonged to various districts in East and West Pakistan, 10 from East and 12 from West Pakistan. The cere-mony took place on 3rd October 1966 at the President’s House, Rawalpindi. After the decoration ceremony the President entertained the children at tea and light refreshments. It was quite an impressive ceremony since the children could meet their President and talk to him frankly. On the same day, recipients of the Awards for the year 1966, were announced by the Government.
Branches of the Council and their affiliated child welfare agencies are running many services like recreation centres, re-habilitation of disabled and crippled and handicapped children, etc. all over Pakistan. Karachi Council for Child Welfare is still running a home for destitute girls known as “Nasheman” at Karachi. West Pakistan Council for Child Welfare has started a Babies home at Lahore. And East Pakistan Council for Child Welfare has shifted its rehabilitation Centre for the Crippled Chil-dren to its own building and the Centre is doing a wonderful job.
Pakistani children have been participating in Scouts and Girl Guides Jamboree in various parts of the World. Public opinion has been aroused throughout the country for the need of literature for children. Thousands of books for children are being written and published in the country.