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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.

"Never before did humankind have the capacity to do so much good, to reach so many, to work with the poor and the oppressed, to empower them, and to promote justice and human rights for all, as we do today. Let us commit ourselves, therefore, on the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, to harness the power of our religious traditions and moral leadership to liberate all God’s children from poverty. Let us raise children to their full human potential. This is not just our duty, but the ultimate mark of our great human civilization."

— Kul Gautam, Chair, Arigatou International Advisory Group

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.

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Dr. Antonia Carla Testa

Dr.Testa, serves as Associate Professor of the Institute of Obstetric and Gynaecological Clinics at the Catholic University. She is the Scientific Director of the Center for Ultrasound in Gynecological Oncology “Class Ultrasound” of the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital Foundation. This is one of the oldest and most reputed hospitals of Rome.

She also leads as the Director of the Simple Departmental Operational Unit “Ambulatory Gynaecology” within the of the Department of Health Sciences of Women, Children and Public Health, of Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS. She serves as Director of the simple operational unit of Outpatient Gynecology, at A. Gemelli Hospital IRCCS.

And as Director of the School of Ultrasound “Class Ultrasound” at Policlinico A. Gemelli, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome she serves on the International working group on Gynaecological Cancers.

In addition to her global scientific responsibilities, as a consecrated member on one of the worlds largest Catholic movement, the Focolare movement she has conceptualized and led many service initiatives.

Under the guidance and inspiration of Pope Francis she has been convening the very successful ‘Earth Day’ observance in Rome for the past 5 years.

She also led the International Marathon for Solidarity during the COVID 19 Pandemic convening different sections of society to raise funds for vulnerable women and children during the COVID 19 Pandemic. Pope Francis recognized this effort as a Papal outreach initiative and contributed to the significant COVID 19 relief fund.

Antoniacarla.testa@unicatt.it antoniacarla.testa@policlinicogemelli.it