Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#IMAGINE a better world for children: CRC@25 celebrations in Nepal

More than 10,000 gathered at the Tundikhel Grounds to celebrate 25 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
KATHMANDU, 8 December 2014 – On a recent warm and sunny Saturday, Vikash Khadka imagined a world where every child gets the opportunity to grow up in a healthy environment, where no child is deprived of education and where no child faces any sort of discrimination.

Vikash Khadka holds the board with his message on how he imagines the world for children. © UNICEF Nepal/201/DMalla
Mr. Khadka was one of more than 10,000 individuals gathered at Tundikhel, a landmark ground located at the heart of the capital, to celebrate the 25 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on December 6. The event, organized by UNICEF Nepal, aimed to increase awareness about children’s rights as well as encourage everyone to imagine a better world for children.

Nepal's most reputed traditional folk ensemble Kutumba performs during CRC@25 celebration in Nepal. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
The celebrations included a free musical concert featuring performances by children; Nepal’s most reputed traditional folk ensemble Kutumba; and upcoming singer and songwriter Bipul Chettri.

Bipul Chettri performs during the CRC@25 celebration on December 6. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
The five children’s bands performing at the event were Mitrata Nepal, Imperial World School, Dallu Awasiya School, Music Musica Institute and Adarsha Saula Yubak Higher Secondary School. The musical performances, especially those by children with disability, drew ovation from the crowd.

Children with disability perform during CRC@25 celebration on December 6. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
“This kid stole my attention, not only mine but that of the whole crowd, “  wrote Nirnit Tandukar, one of the concert-goers, on his Facebook photo post referring to one of the children performers with disability. “Though he could not see the crowd cheering him, he sang his heart out!”

Girls and women of the traditional "Dhime" group display proper technique of washing hand with soap and water as part of their performance during the CRC@25 celebration on Dec. 6. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
Kutumba’s performance also featured young musical talents from the Himalayan, mid Hills and the lower Terai regions of the nation.

As music flowed through the 15-acre ground, children and youth enjoyed many fun-filled activities facilitated by youth volunteers. These included WASH related snake and ladder games as well wheel-chair games for people without disability intended to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with disability in their day to day lives, as well as to demonstrate that they have different abilities.

Children participate in arts and crafts during CRC@25 celebration on December 6. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki

There were also selfie stalls, and opportunity to take pictures with cutouts of UNICEF ambassadors at Tundikhel. There was even a Book Bus from the American Embassy. At the same time more than a dozen stalls set up by various organizations provided information on the work being done for the betterment of the children and youth in Nepal. Child-friendly posters of the CRC in both English and Nepali were also distributed among the concert participants to raise awareness about child rights. The text and illustrations for the posters were developed in consultation with children.

Concert participants take selfies with the cutouts of UNICEF Ambassadors. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
Through the event, UNICEF also invited everyone to use the new mobile app “#IMAGINE Touchcast” to record John Lennon’s Imagine, one of the world’s most beloved songs, and share it through social media using the hashtags #EVERYVOICECOUNTS and #IMAGINE.  Meanwhile UNICEF National Ambassador Ani Choying Drolma, also known as the Singing Nun, has aleady recorded her verison of the song, which has been uploaded to the website.

The events on December 6 were part of the year-long activities to celebrate CRC@25 in Nepal. On the actual CRC Day on 20 November, UNICEF Nepal and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) commenced the “Clean, Green and Child-friendly Kathmandu City” initiative aimed at improving the lives of children living in the city. This was one of the nationwide initiatives towards the development of child-friendly spaces in the country to mark 25 years of the CRC. This has been spurred by the emerging issue of shrinking open spaces for children to play in urban areas.
The initiative was kicked off with foundation stone laying of child-friendly toilets in the historic Ratna Park by children, UNICEF Nepal National Ambassador Ani Choying Drolma, representatives from KMC as well as UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia and UNICEF Nepal Representative.

Foundation stone laying of child-friendly toilets in Ratna Park by children as well as KMC and UNICEF officials.
© UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
This is part of the plans to turn the park, once a historic landmark, and which had fallen to neglect and lack of maintenance, into a child and disabled-friendly park.

The event at Ratna Park also included the unveiling of the branding of the local 55-seater Sajha buses with child-friendly logos.

Unveiling of the branding of Sajha buses with child-friendly logos. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/CSKarki
Working under the purview of Nepal Government’s Local Governance and Community Development Programme (LGCDP) and guided by its core component of  Child/Environment Friendly Local Governance, UNICEF and KMC will work together to promote Child-Friendly Cities Initiatives.

As the cooperation unfolds, the two institutions will identify areas and activities that will bring significant impact on the children, adolescents and women in Kathmandu city and later in other urban areas of Nepal. Municipalities around the nation also allocated green spaces for children, planted trees in children’s parks as well as committed to work towards establishing child-friendly municipalities to mark CRC@25.

A month earlier, marking the Global Hand Washing Day on October 15, Nepal celebrated 25 years of child survival with a kite-flying event. More than 250 children participated in the fun-filled event raising awareness about the importance of hand washing and proper hygiene for child survival.

A child flies a kite during celebration marking Global Hand Washing Day and CRC@25. © UNICEF Nepal/2014/NShrestha
The CRC@25 celebrations in Nepal will culminate with an inter-generational dialogue between 25, 50, 75 and 100-year-olds. The discussion, to be broadcast on National electronic media will also include child rights experts and individuals working for the betterment of children in Nepal. The event will seek to highlight the achievements made by Nepal in the last 25 years in the field of child rights and survival as well as challenges moving ahead.