How it Began
El Día de Los Niños began in earnest in 1924 when the League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations) realized that there was a worldwide need for the rights of children to be brought to people’s attention. A document was established as part of the Geneva Convention that did just that.
Three decades later, in 1954, the United Nations hosted a global assembly on behalf of the rights of children as addressed in that historical document. Guatemala then set aside the 1st of October as a day to celebrate the rights of children across their country.
In 1989, another document called the Declaration of Children’s Rights was signed into action, which would forever seal the focus of the country on what it could do to bring stability and safety back into the lives of its future citizens.
It has been a long and difficult road, but there are many organizations working today, both in the public eye and behind the scenes, to bring this dream of a happy, fruitful future for all Guatemalan children to life.
Why el Día de Los Niños Is Important
Many of those reading this likely live in places where human rights such as safety and security, food and water, housing, and health are things that are taken for granted. Unfortunately, those aspects of our lives that we generally take as certainties are but limited luxuries for many in places around the world, Guatemala being one of those places.
Guatemalan children suffer not only from great exposure to poverty and crime, but also from neglect, malnutrition, disease, illness, and poor (if any) access to education.
What the Day is All About
The United Nations in Guatemala brought about a compendium of 54 articles that explained exactly what the rights of children are. Still, all of those are based on 6 fundamental rights that are the focus of efforts today.
- The right to play and experience a joyful childhood in which play and exploration are encouraged rather than seeking mere survival.
- The right to healthy nutrition is so critical in Guatemala. It is not enough to keep bellies full. Studies have shown how important the right kind of nutrition is in helping a body grow healthy as well as cultivating an environment in which the brain can thrive and not experience imbalance or developmental delay as a result of malnutrition.
- The right to a home that provides children a place to escape excessive heat and cold and offers them a safe place to play and rest helps ensure they will have the opportunity to grow into healthy adults.
- The right to health invites the Guatemalan government to continue bettering medical attention for infants and children. This also helps to prevent sickness and disease, catch nutritional problems early on, and support children with special needs.
- The right to education, more than just learning to read and write, consists of constructing a base of personal development that allows children to make their own decisions, choose between right and wrong, and gives them the ability to live and function as contributing members of society.
- The right to life and family guarantees children that they have protection, education, and access to development. Parents and other family members also watch over their safety, health, and morality, providing children with a sense of belonging, which is critical to maintaining any child’s wellbeing.
How Work, Play, Love Fits In
Since the very beginning, our mission has always been to celebrate and support the well-being of children in Guatemala. Our visits to the country saw a truly underserved population, and we knew we needed to help. It is our main mission to bring the needs of Guatemala’s children into daily focus; quite frankly, their needs are why we exist.
We love and appreciate this holiday on October 1st because it is the perfect excuse to celebrate all of the children in this country we have fallen in love with. We adore celebrating all that life has to offer and the right to thrive with these wonderful souls…plus, the kids love ANY excuse to have a dance party!
How The Country Celebrates
You will generally find classrooms and educational institutions full of bright, vivid colors and ornately decorated with objects that charge youngsters’ imaginations. Children squeal with joy as they get to experience special activities that bring the fun of education and discovery back to life.
Many government and educational institutions organize games like breaking piñatas, races, and more. In addition, they often exchange gifts and candies, host clown performances, have face painting, and much more. The country is their carnival on this special day. Indeed, anything that delights children goes on this celebratory day in Guatemala that is set aside just for them.
What You Can Do
If you feel compelled to help us help the children on this day of the recognition of their value as the extraordinary little beings they are, please go here.