It’s up to all of us to keep children #FreeFromViolence
Childhood should be a time of innocence, free from violence and exploitation. The main focus should be learning, growing, sharing dreams with friends and family and exploring the world.
Our sixth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams global survey of 10- to 12-year-olds reveals that this is not the reality for too many of the world’s children. Many young people feel unsafe at school, on the Internet and even in their own communities.
These fears aren’t limited to economically developing countries; children in economically developed countries share many of the same worries. It is a pervasive, global issue, which requires us to work together towards a brighter future. It is alarming that 42% of children in all countries do not feel safe at school.
This past September at the United Nations, Member States adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and address climate change. Governments also agreed on a vision of a “world that invests in its children and in which every child grows up free from violence and exploitation.”
They pledged to:
- end abuse, exploitation, torture, trafficking and violence against children;
- end child labour, especially in its worst forms;
- end child marriage, female genital mutilation and other practices, which are harmful to children; and
- create safe and non-violent learning environments.
ChildFund Alliance believes the global community needs to do more to help children be children. Our global campaign, ‘free from violence and exploitation,’ is helping raise awareness and move the agenda forward on child rights. We are now asking people from every nation to join the conversation with the hashtag #FreeFromViolence and share ways in which we can work together to protect children. Let’s help them grow fruitfully into the thinkers and leaders they will need to be in order to thrive and safeguard the next generation from harm.
I encourage you to read and share the Small Voices, Big Dreams 2015 report, one of the largest annual surveys of children in the world. We talked to nearly 6,000 children from 44 countries, and their voices and dreams are included in the following pages.
The report includes fascinating facts and quotes from children growing up in many different circumstances. I hope they will inspire you to take action. Please do. Together, we can we keep children #FreeFromViolence and make the world safer.
Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance