The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children promotes spiritual and religious ceremonies and a wide range of year-round actions.
The purpose is to bring together children and adults from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to advance the well-being of children and advocate for the respect and protection of their rights. The World Day is commemorated every year on November 20, which is also observed as World Children’s Day and the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It connects religious and spiritual communities and civil society organizations in a common endeavor to advocate for a world that prioritizes children’s rights and that lets children flourish in caring, empowering and protecting environments.
World Day 2022
Millions of children are “on the move”! This includes refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people. UNHCR estimates that in May 2022 global forced displacement surpassed 100 million, and at least 37 million were children below 18 years old. The driving factors are often related to armed conflict, poverty, natural disasters, and climate change. Regardless of the reasons for displacement, children face common risks in transit, at destination and upon return including economic or sexual exploitation, abuse, neglect, and violence. Their vulnerability also prevents them from enjoying their fundamental rights including their right to education and health. For example, according to UNICEF, refugee children are 5 times more likely to be out of school than other children.
The World Day 2022 presents an opportunity to increase multi-stakeholder collaboration and commitment to advocate for every child’s dignity and holistic well-being, with a special focus on children on the move. The World Day 2022 aims to build on the unique assets of faith actors to provide a platform for children and adults from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to stand together for the respect, safety, and well-being of children on the move.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live and interact with others. It has also exacerbated pre-existing harms and created new harms to children including violence, poverty, their limited access to fundamental rights such as to health care and education, the increasing digital divide and online safety.
Building on the contribution of faith actors to children’s spiritual development and respect of their dignity and rights, in 2021 Prayer and Action for Children established the Wear My Shoes Campaign. Wear My Shoes aims to mobilize adults—including religious leaders, policymakers, parents/caregivers, and educators—to become the support system that children need for the realization of their rights and well-being. In 2021, the Wear My Shoes Campaign focused on children’s return to school while prioritizing their social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.