“A day of world-wide fraternity and understanding among children “. So was described the Universal Children Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations 12 years ago, when it decided to recommend to all the countries of the world the observance each year of a day dedicated to the children. Every year, communities around the world observe the Universal Children Day by parades, games, speeches and festive activities, especially in schools. The date recommended for celebrating Universal Children Day around the world is the first Monday of October i.e. Monday, October 3, 1966. The theme for the day this year is “ CHILDREN AND PEACE “, with the subtitle:
“How Programme for children contribute to the World’s Peace “.
Hungry children, sick children, neglected children, their misery can feed the fires of war. Plant seeds of peace in the hearts of the world’s children. You can free hundreds of millions of children from disease, malnutrition and ignorance by helping organizations working for children. For a peaceful tomorrow, we must begin with the children today.
The welfare of today’s children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow’s world, for it is today’s children who will be responsible for giving substance to our dreams of peaceful cooperation and development. They, embody our hopes for a peaceful world, and our plans for increasing happiness and pros-pects must start with their welfare. Good or bad, the child’s experiences between birth and his sixth year will affect him the rest of his life. Will he welcome new ideas or recoil from them? Will he seek to satisfy his desires through cooperation with others or through conflict? The answer to these questions depends largely on what happens to the child before he is old enough for school, for the early years are the formative years during which the child’s basic personality takes shape. No greater gift cars be given to a child than to provide him with a good start during this period when he is covering so much ground in his develop-ment. Three quarters of young children are growing up in countries where, for the average family, life is still a desperate struggle. Most of these children form their first picture of the world in poor rural villages whose subsistence economy leaves no margin for experiment or innovation.
On a long-term basis, there is no more effective way of serving the cause of peace than by helping today’s children grow up sound in mind and body, un embittered by neglect and un warped by early misery. For, “It is through the values of universal brotherhood first felt in the hearts of children that the minds of men can become open to the eventual creation of a world com-munity “.
The Pakistan Council for Child Welfare, which was formed in October 1958 has established its reputation through public education, its contact with social welfare agencies and its contri-bution to child welfare work in the country. In 1961 the follow-ing three types of awards for children were instituted by the President of Pakistan at the request of the Pakistan Council for Child Welfare:
(i) Award for Spontaneous Act of Courage and Service;
(ii) Award for the Best Child Writer;
(iii) Award for the Best Child Artist;
These awards are called the President’s Awards for Children and are announced by the President on the Universal Children Day which is celebrated on the first Monday of October each year. Pakistan Council for Child Welfare established ‘Ashiana (a Baby-placement Centre)’ and ran it successfully till it was transferred in 1963 to the Karachi Branch of the Council. The Council constructed a Shelter-cum-School at Sita Kundu and another at Swandip in East Pakistan for the cyclone affected children with the financial assistance of the “ Save the Children” Fund. Medicine, food and clothing were arranged for children at the time of periodical calamities by the Regional Branches of the Council and some of its Institutional Members. A fort4ightly programme for thc children is sponsored by the Council from Radio Pakistan, Karachi. The Council has been encouraging its allied institutions to provide recreational facilities for the children with good response.