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International Children's Day: the history of the holiday, the realities and the event for children

History of the holiday

Annually, on the first day of summer, June 1, the world celebrates International Children's Day. The decision to create this holiday was made back in 1949 in Paris at a session of the Women's International Democratic Federation. The foundation of this day was initiated due to the fact that in many countries of the world many children were left without parents and shelter after the Second World War.

The following year, for the first time, International Children's Day was celebrated in 50 countries. Since then, the event has become one of the largest in the world. Ukraine joined the tradition by the Decree of the President of May 30, 1998. The main purpose of the holiday is to draw the attention of the public, government agencies and organizations to the problems aimed at implementing various measures to ensure the welfare of children in the world.

Realities of the holiday in 2022

This Children's Day was the most tragic in the history of Ukraine. In the last three months alone, while a full-scale war is going on in the country, almost 700 children have suffered from the actions of the Russian occupiers. The UNICEF reports that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, at least 262 children have died and 415 children have been injured. The reason is the shelling of residential areas with the use of explosive weapons. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, in her statement in honor of International Children's Day, stressed that instead of celebrating this day, Ukraine is approaching the hundredth day of the war that has destroyed the lives of millions of children.

On Children's Day, experts from the UNICEF called on the world community to allocate $624.2 million to continue humanitarian activities in Ukraine and $324.7 million to support the fund's work in countries hosting refugees. Representatives of the UN Children's Fund stressed that what children need most is peace.

But despite the difficulties of the martial law, no one in Ukraine treated the holiday with disdain. President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on his Facebook an appeal reading: “In order to better understand children, sometimes you have to become a child yourself. Let's leave our children a country they will be proud of! His wife, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, also urged to always keep in mind that children need love, care and affection: “Let's remember that children are our future, our continuation, our tomorrow, and do everything in our power to provide all the children with happy, safe, fulfilling childhoods, because happy adults grow out of happy children.”

Where and how children celebrated June 1

On June 1, many events for children were organized in Dnipro, Kyiv, Lviv, Zaporozhye and other cities. Thematic workshops, picnics and excursions for children into the historical past of Saint Sophia Cathedral were held in Kyiv. In the parks of the Dnipro, charity events were held, where they collected money for animals. There were animators and the military, who spoke about their work.

In turn, the Brethren Mennonites from the village of Balkove and the city of Zaporozhye joined the common desire to take care of the children and distract them from the war and worries. On June 1, at the Rymer Center, together with the leaders of the SWW (School Without Walls), they organized an event for children within the walls of the center and invited all the displaced children and their parents. About 200 people attended the holiday, of which 100 were children. Despite the heat, the holiday atmosphere was very inviting. The children participated in a talent contest, interacted with volunteer animators, sang songs, danced and drew face painting on their faces. The children and their parents were very pleased. At the end, each child received a gift and a children's Bible. Parents were invited by the team of Mennonite Brethren Christians to a new event that will take place today, June 2. In general, during the event, which lasted three hours, the team managed to build relationships with many refugees and tell them about Christ.

In the future, Brethren Mennonites plan to work with the displaced and introduce them to loving and caring God. In addition, the guys have come up with the idea of organizing similar events for children, only on a smaller scale. Now they are looking for ways to implement this idea. The team asks to pray for the spiritual and moral state of the team, as well as for the people who visit their center. Many need the healing power of the Lord. May the Lord bless the guys in their work.

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