Growing up, Ojonwa Miachi's parents were told not to spend on education for her and her four other siblings — all of whom are female. However, her parents refused to give in to pressure and were determined to give all of their five daughters the education they themselves were fortunate enough to receive.

When my first child was born four years ago, no sooner had he entered the world, than the hospital staff handed me a form to fill out. Despite my happy, delirious, sleep-deprived state of mind, I was able to fill out the simple form and hand it off to a nurse. It was really an afterthought for me. I was more concerned with spelling my son's name correctly and how I would change a diaper than what the form actually meant. And yet, about six weeks later, a birth certificate arrived in the mail. I spent three minutes filling out a form but it wasn't until that certificate arrived that the government knew my son existed. This is a right I had always taken for granted and yet it is denied to millions of children around the world every year.

Simply by virtue of where they live, roughly 1.5 billion people are dangerously at risk of becoming a victim of violence this year. Families living in countries, cities and towns torn apart by war and criminal violence are particularly vulnerable. While lethal violence is always traumatic, the intentional killing of children is depraved. Yet more than 75,000 young people die violently each year due to the direct and indirect consequences of armed violence, most of them outside of conflict zones. Not surprisingly, some societies are more affected than others. Brazil -- host to the World Cup next month -- could be considered one of the world's most violent. The nation's homicide rate is classified as well above "epidemic" using World Health Organization standards. Roughly 50,000 are violently killed each year, with at least half of these preventable deaths consisting of adolescents and children.