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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Universal Children Day (October 2, 1972)

Stamp is horizontal in format. A mass of crowded buildings and huts in various colours are shown in the background on the right half portion of the stamp to represent “Slums and Shanty Towns’ together with few trees in light and dark green colours.
Two children, a boy and a girl, are shown in the foreground running towards the multi-coloured square at left, which represents a well-planned town to provide better living for the children. The caption “Better Life for the Children in Slums and Shanty Towns” runs across at the top in two lines in the red colour.
The denomination “20-Paica” in reverse appears in the lower corner of the red section of the multi-colour square. The word “Pakistan’ in Bangali, English and Urdu in blue colour appears at the bottom. The word “Postage” appears at the lower right of stamp in black.
Universal Children’s Day is observed every year in over 100 countries of the world. It has a two-fold purpose:—
Educational: As an occasion for calling the needs of Children to the attention of gov-ernments and the people; and
Recreational An occasion to honour child-ren through special ceremonies and festi-vities. In Pakistan Universal Children’s Day is sponsored by the Pakistan Council for Child Welfare. Each year a special theme is chosen for Children’s Day to focus world attention on special needs of children. Edu-cation, Training, Health and Nutrition have been the subjects of recent years. The theme for 1972 is “A Better Life For Child-ren In Slums And Shanty Towns.” This year Pakistan is observing Universal Child-ren’s Day on Monday, October 2, 1972— the date recommended by the U.N. Gene-ral Assembly and Pakistan Post Office is bringing out a Commemorative Stamp to high light the occasion.
The theme for this year has a special significance for us and invites us to pause and think of the needs not only of our Own children but of All Children in Pakistan. On this annual occasion the Pakistan Council for Child Welfare urge all Pakis-tanis to give special thought to the needs of our children living in slums and shanty towns, and do whatever they can to help these children live happier lives.
Children who live in filthy and in-sani-tary conditions, over-crowded huts, rat-infested slums endure insufferable hard-ships; poorly equipped, over-crowded, sub-standard schools, lack of proper water systems; inadequate recreational facilities; in many cases, the breakdown of family life; in slum, a depressing, destructive en-vironment in which despair and anger are contagious and often fatal diseases.
It is important for all of us to think about the needs and rights of all children, not merely those in our own personal care, whom we ourselves know and love because all children, no matter how rich or poor, their parents are no matter what religious group, political party, social class, nation or race they belong to, have the same needs and the same rights. Every child needs and deserves good medical care, education and food, protection from pre-sent dangers and preparation for future opportunities. If children are deprived of such things today, our entire world will be deprived tomorrow of the healthy, strong, intelligent and capable people it will need to ensure continued and increased progress and peace.
Everyone of us is affected, either di-rectly or indirectly, by the problems gene-rated by urban slums. They are virulent cancers which, if neglected, can destroy the health of an entire society. So all of us must become involved—by professional or volunteer activity in community improve-ment projects and by supporting needed legislation. Slums are a ‘Luxury’ no nation can afford. Today slums and shanty towns constitute half or even 75% of the cities in some developing countries.
Most of the housing in slums is dan-gerously dilapidated. filthy and over-crowded. In some slums there are as many as 20 persons living in one room. Some slums dwellings are so over-crowded that the people who share a room sleep in re-lays. Improper ventilation and impure air spread diseases like, tuberculosis, polio, typhoid etc.
Children in slums suffer from almost total lack of pre-school education, a short-age of day care centres for children of working mothers, and a shortage of both primary and secondary schools.
Most families which migrate from rural areas move into the slum sections of cities, because they cannot afford to live in the better, more modern area. Slums are, therefore, growing even faster than cities as a whole.
Cities are growing rapidly all over the world but “slums” are increasing almost twice as rapidly as cities. In many slums more than half the inhabitants are young children. Unless effective steps are taken to improve these children’s lives soon, while the children are still highly impres-sionable, our cities in a few more years may be victimized by their current victims. We are in danger of raising a generation of untrained, uneducated, frustrated and angry people. However, if adequate health and training facilities are provided in time to help these children, their pot-ential energies and talents will mature and will serve society so that we can all enjoy a better life. Children are the most preci-ous possession of a nation and it is our col-lective responsibility to ensure that they grow into healthy, strong, intelligent and capable young men, and we must all strive to that end.