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Rugby looms large as NZ kicks off World Children's Day

New Zealand kicked off the global celebrations for World Children’s Day in true kiwi fashion, with New Zealand’s world champion rugby teams and Auckland’s Eden Park getting in on the action to help give voice to children around the world.

The All Blacks, and Blacks Ferns and All Blacks Sevens teams, all feature heavily in UNICEF NZ’s globe-spanning video celebrating World Children’s Day while Auckland’s world-famous stadium, Eden Park, joins other international landmarks, including the Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House, The Empire State Building and Beijing’s Water Cube in being illuminated resplendent blue for the night.

“UNICEF has always existed to give voice to children everywhere, and we couldn’t be happier to be kicking off global proceedings,” says UNICEF NZ Executive Director Vivien Maidaborn.

“This is a day of celebration, but it’s also a chance to reflect on the role children have in our society, draw attention to the issues face, and ask how we can all ensure that every child has the great start in life that they deserve.”

To mark the day, stars and leaders from the worlds of entertainment, government, sport and business will rally for children in support of their rights, and children will ‘take over’ high-profile roles to highlight issues that are important to them. These include:

1. In countries around the world, children will meet with Heads of state, including in Peru, Guinea, and Nigeria, and parliaments will be taken over by children in Montenegro, Tonga, Suriname and Zambia, amongst others. The Taoiseach of Ireland (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, will hand over his role to a young person for the day.

1. In Brussels, youth delegates will ‘take over’ the European Parliament and tell leaders about the ‘Europe Kids Want.’

1. In India, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar will play a game of unified football with children. In addition, children will take over the national broadcaster

1. In China, Laos, Lebanon, Nigeria, Oman, Tanzania, the United States and elsewhere, children will take over newsrooms to report on issues that matter to them.

1. In The Netherlands, over 30 children will be given the chance to take on their dream jobs, from managing a football team to working on the most popular Dutch daily soap, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden.

It’s also a day to advocate and raise awareness so that every child is in school, safe from harm and able to fulfil their potential. Despite tremendous progress over the past decades, millions of children remain unschooled, unprotected and uprooted.

If the world doesn’t accelerate progress for children, projections show that between now and 2030:
• 278 million children of primary to upper secondary age will be out of school
• 150 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday.
• 56 million children will die before their fifth birthday.

This #WorldChildrensDay, UNICEF is asking for supporters to sign a petition demanding leaders commit to fulfilling the rights of every child now and in future generations, so they are in school, safe from harm and can fulfil their potential:

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