Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Year of Sanitation 2008...

This last week, two UNICEF-sponsored events took place in several nations: the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the launching of the International Year of Sanitation 2008.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was celebrated in several countries. InGermany, UNICEF representatives and children from the Berlin International School celebrated the 18th birthday of the CRC. A huge blue banner which read ‘A Call from Berlin: Children First – Kinder haben Rechte’ (Children have Rights) covered the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's landmark to the end of the Cold War. The ‘Children First’ banner served as a reminder to Germany of its obligations 15 years after the country’s ratification of the Convention. To this day, Germany has yet to ratify the CRC treaty’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography.

In New York, the CRC was celebrated with UNICEF appointing its first Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, a child soldier survivor from Sierra Leone. With his appoitment, Beah becomes a symbol of hope for children who have suffered violence and deprivation of their rights as children.

A website called CRC@18 was also launched by UNICEF to help protect the fundamental rights of every child, raise awareness and involve young people in advocating for their rights.
Also in the UN's headquarters in New York, the International Year of Sanitation 2008 was launched and spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The project promotes making water adequate and sanitation available to everyone. It aims to focus the world’s attention on cutting in half the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.

In her speech, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said that “Children are the most vulnerable, and they are the ones who continue to pay the highest price in terms of lives and futures lost.” Worldwide, lack of access to proper sanitation is linked to the deaths of 1.5 million children each year.

It may take years to resolve all these problems on poverty and rights of children but the efforts have already started and hopefully they soon will bear fruit for the most needy and the world to benefit from.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Autistic Mind...Musical Genius

Months back, I wrote about Amanda,an autistic girl who learned to survive and deal with her autism. Her condition opened the eyes of many and made them understand that autism isn't a hopeless case and that these special people can communicate with others only in a different way. It was touching to read about her story. Now a similar story was featured in Yahoo News about a young boy who also has autism but with such great talent in the field of music.

Maybe these people touch my heart and make me quite emotional because I have a son who has learning difficulty. And though my son has always been diagnosed as mentally normal and goes to regular classes, I still always consider him somewhat special and needing more attention than his siblings. I know I shouldn't be doing this because it would only make him dependent on us and less able to take care of himself but I guess it's the protective mother in me that comes out first. I suppose I'll always be this way with him. And the fear of what can happen to his future should anything happen to me always scares me so much...

I'm sharing this story of Rex, an autistic child born blind....and a musical genius.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Amateurish Pictures of London...

I had to work mostly, but the little time I could grab in my almost 8 days' stay still made me feel glad that I had this chance to visit London. The establishments have such early closing hours. We often left the office at 8pm and most stores were closed by then except for the restaurants and internet cafes.

Well I didn't miss tasting the famous fish'n chips :). I had it three times when I was there and the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant served the best, biggest and freshest from the three I've tasted...and ohhh...the cheapest cost and fastest service. It was just 3 pounds. The rest were at 6 or 7 pounds. It was an add-on you can order from the tour around the city.

I wish I had enough time to see the inside of the Tower of London and Madam Thessaud(?). Well, maybe next time....

Thursday, November 08, 2007



ONE is launching a petition asking all U.S. presidential candidates to go "On The Record," by submitting in writing to ONE, their plans on the following five issues:

* Eradicating malaria;
* Improving child and maternal health;
* Reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis;
* Achieving universal primary education; and
* Providing access to food and clean water for all.

This will put on record, the candidates' presidential agenda on critical issues many organizations like ONE are advocating for. This hopefully helps put these issues among the candidates' priority list and serves as a reminder for them to address these global concerns.

Monday, November 05, 2007


When I saw the news on children in India being made to work long hours for the famous Gap company, it made me wonder if the main office overseas is even aware that children were being used to make their clothes. From the BBC news, it seems they don't. The important thing is, something is and should be done about it.

There are many forms of child abuse and child labor is just one of them. Unfortunately, as long as there are takers, child labor or any form of child abuse will never be eradicated.