November 18, 2011, 3:21 PM
URI members in Buenos Aires, Argentina are celebrating the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children on November 19th with a festival for at-risk youth on the city’s periphery, including interfaith prayer, workshops, entertainment and special guest Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. A multi-organization partnership through the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), the event caps a year’s-worth of monthly workshops to teach these young people about peace. It is one of hundreds of events being held around the globe, including several by URI Cooperation Circles. (Click here for a video clip)
The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, also Universal Children’s Day, was started by GNRC’s founder Arigatou International in 2009. Officially observed on the 20th of November, its mission is to “mobilize people from diverse religious traditions to improve children’s lives through prayer and practical acts of service.” November 20th is also the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In 2010, over 36,000 people in 46 countries participated in the initiative under the theme of reducing child mortality. This year’s theme, “Stop Violence against Children,” runs through 2013.
The youth in Buenos Aires decided on their own theme this year: respect.
“Society treats these youth with suspicion, because they come from very poor backgrounds and are very much exposed to violence and drugs,” said Maria Crespo, URI's CC Global Support Coordinator, who is based in Buenos Aires and represents URI on the GNRC steering committee there. “They want to present themselves as hope, as peacebuilders and committed to the construction of a different type of society. They want to overcome prejudice and be treated with trust.”
Other URI events for the day include a three-day program co-organized by the Youth Society for Peace in Nepal, a prayer event in Manila, Philippines for the children of war-torn Mindanao co-organized by the Peacemakers' Circle CC and URI's Southeast Asia and the Pacific Office and a special session in the Brasilia House of Deputies organized by the Brasilia CC, which will be followed by a larger public event in Brasilia on Saturday.
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