Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station is lit up in blue in Mumbai, India, Nov. 20, 2018, to support the global UNICEF "Go Blue" campaign to mark Universal Children's Day. (Xinhua/Stringer)
by Xinhua writer Ma Jianguo
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Children around the world are welcome to "Go Blue" to mark World Children's Day on Nov. 20 and make sure that every child's voice is heard, a senior UNICEF official said Monday.
"Children are encouraged to tell the world what they want, how they want to create and to build a better world," said Paloma Escudero, director of communications of UNICEF, expressing her hope that children and young people can show their solidarity, every child is educated and protected from harm, and their full potential is fulfilled.
Kids and adults worldwide are encouraged to "Go Blue" -- wearing something blue on Nov. 20 to show support for the world's children; doing something blue: sign UNICEF's global petition and ask leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child now and for future generations; or shopping vital supplies which children need to survive and thrive.
There will be many events around the world, she said. Many countries will have the children act as journalists and take over TV programs and radio shows, and write for main newspapers.
In some countries, children are going to take over the offices of prime ministers and ministers, telling what they expect politicians and governments to do in favor of the poor, Escudero said.
The most prominent buildings in some countries will be transformed into blue to remind people why children should be thought about in celebration of the World Children's Day. Hundreds of events are expected to be held in about 190 countries, according to the official.
She said that it was very important for UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore to sign an MOU with Xinhua News Agency in Beijing a few months ago, which said UNICEF and Xinhua would join hands in communicating about the key issues that affect children around the world.
The media is very important in raising awareness on education, water and sanitation, health, protection related to children in continents like Africa and Asia, she said.
"In China, we have lots of programs for early childhood development, especially inviting people to be much better informed on how to be good parents, and programs around water and sanitation, and working a lot on children's health," Escudero said.
At the moment, she said, UNICEF is focused on health issues, especially on the health for children in their first years. When they reach adolescence, UNICEF also has a very strong work on nutrition, especially about malnutrition.
Education is also a very big concern for UNICEF, especially for the 260 million children out of school and for those in conflict areas, the official said.
In Yemen, UNICEF is carrying out its biggest operation to deal with the country's malnutrition situation. "We are aiming to keep the schools open, especially in places and areas where teachers have not been paid for a long time, and it is very important that the Yemeni children don't lose their education."
UNICEF is trying hard in the country to guarantee cash transfer so that people have the minimum income to maintain their families, and are able to buy medicines and food, she said.
In Central African Republic, UNICEF has been working on water and sanitation, protection of education, immunization, and key prevention of epidemics, she said.
UNICEF wants every single member of its staff and volunteers to sign a petition to reaffirm their commitment to defending and protecting the rights of every child, Escudero said.