A world-wide ‘Children’s Day’ was first proposed in 1952 by the International Union for Child Welfare (IUCW), a non-governmental organization which has con-sultative status with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). ‘Children’s Day’ was first celebrated internationally under IUCW sponsorship in October 1953 40 countries participating in the celebration. In the year 1954, the United Nations General Assembly passed a formal Resolution establishing ‘Universal Children’s Day’ as an annual ‘day of world-wide fraternity and understanding among children’. It is a day dedicated to the children of the world and their welfare and a reminder to the adults to re-dedicate themselves to protect child-ren’s rights and work for their happiness and betterment. The first Monday in October each year is the date on which the day is celebrated. This is the date recommended by the United Nations General Assembly. This year the day falls on 5th October, 1970 and Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp of 20-Paisa denomination on this very date to com-memorate the occasion.
It has become customary to observe the event in a variety of ways. Television and radio programmes and newspaper articles are devoted to the subject of children’s needs. Programmes are made by social welfare organisation, schools, mothers’ clubs and youth centres. Children’s parties are held in many hos-pitals, orphanages, town-hails and public parks. Every year since 1954, UNICEF and IUCW have selected a Special Theme for the Day to emphasize a particular aspect of child welfare. The theme for this year is “THE ROLE OF EDUCA-TION IN CHILD CARE”. This theme was chosen in order to focus attention on children’s mental, spiritual and social welfare, as well as to remind ourselves of the vital role education plays in the growth of healthy, happy children. Let us, therefore, resolve to-day and in the days and years to come to do every thing we can to support aid to schools on every level-community, national and international-so that our children and all children can get the best possible education. Many non-governmental or-ganisations all over the world as well as United Nations agencies are engaged in a co-ordinate year-long effort to mobilize energies and inspire new initiatives in education. This year special emphasis is being placed on the role of education in childcare.
Every child needs education, in order to develop his potentialities as fully as possible. Unfortunately, at the pre-sent time only half the world’s school -age children are able to complete even the elementary grades. These figures, provided by the UNICEF represent a shocking waste of the world’s human resources as well as a horrifying num-ber of personal tragedies: Almost every-one agrees that education is important. But some communities, and some families, neglect certain type of education. Girls have a right to education as much as boys-but many girls are denied opportunities to develop abilities specially in the rural areas. Children need someone to teach them. They need and deserve more and setter education. Social Welfare ser-vices, both private and public, govern-mental and voluntary, perform many educational functions among needy families. The road to human progress is long, slow and full of obstacles, but we must not succumb to impatience or defeatism. We must remember that education is a potent factor in building both progress and peace, because it contributes to our understanding of our fellow-men, without which there can be no true progress or lasting peace.
In Pakistan, Universal Children’s Day is sponsored by Pakistan Council for Child Welfare. The Day is celebrated throughout Pakistan in co-operation with the UNICEF. the IUCW, the Govern-ment and many social and child welfare organisations on first Monday of Octo-ber, every year. The President of Pakistan who is the Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Council for Child Welfare always takes keen interest in Council’s activities. He has instituted six Awards for the child-ren since 1961 which are called the ‘President’s Awards for Children” and these are announced by him on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day every year. Since 1968, two new Awards were instituted, one for Best Child Writer in Bengali among the Urdu speaking children and the other for Best Child Writer in Urdu among the Bengali Speaking Children. From 1961 to 1969 forty-two talented children were deco-rated by the President of Pakistan with the President’s Awards for Children. The underlying idea of these Awards is to develop leadership amongst the children and to encourage the potential writers, artists and leaders of tomorrow. These Awards for the children have created a great interest and enthusiasm among the children in Pakistan.