Es más fácil construir niños felices que reparar niños rotos.
It is easier to shape happy children than to repair abused children.
World Children’s Day
November 20th is World Children’s Day, also known as Universal Children’s Day. It commemorates the anniversary of the UN General Assembly adopting the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). It is a day to increase global commitment to improving child welfare.
Clowns Without Borders is committed to making sure that children’s rights are protected, which is why we are taking this Universal Children’s Day to spotlight a project combining clowning and the right to safety.
Why Children’s Rights?
The UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of the Child asks us to view children as independent citizens and consider their specific developmental needs. Many of the rights in The Convention reflect the Declaration of Human Rights, but they also go further to ensure that children (as individuals and as a group) have the right to express their views (Article 12) and the right to play (Article 31).
Right to Play
Children learn through play. It is essential to their development. It is how they express themselves, build relationships, explore interests, and manage challenges. Often, games are used as an educational tool, to stimulate interest, or to teach critical skills. However, the Right to Play (Article 31) is about play in its purest sense. Play for pleasure.
“That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” –Article 31
At Clowns Without Borders, we often work within play for the sake of pleasure. We invite our audience to laugh, to join us in song, to try out an act for themselves. One of the best possible outcomes of a CWB tour is when children start playing with each other.
Right to Safety
Sometimes we use play as a tool for teaching our audience about a challenging topic, such as Land Mine Risk Education. The right to safety works hand-in-hand with the right to play. They are equally fundamental to a child’s dignity and well-being. This summer, Clowns Without Borders partnered with Corporación Humor Y Vida and Recreando Lazos Sociales to address the issue of family violence in Ecuador. Family violence is known to increase in times of stress, and the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare stressors throughout our societies. Lockdown conditions exacerbate family stress, interruption education, trap children in potentially unsafe situations, and isolate them from their peers.
A group of clowns and psychologists worked together to discuss strategies to prevent violence against children. Our goal is to encourage children to advocate for their rights.
You can watch the rest of the series, on our YouTube channel.
Want to do more?
The United States is the only member of the United Nations not to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child. You can learn more at the American SPCC.