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20 November is Universal Children’s Day. This year, it also marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To honour the occasion, we asked more than 6,000 children in 44 countries about their hopes, dreams and concerns for children around the world. It’s an annual project we call Small Voices, Big Dreams. (We’ll be releasing the results of the survey on 20 November.)

This year, we also invited children in eight countries – Australia, Colombia, France, Laos, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, the US and Zambia €“ to take part in an accompanying video project about children’s rights. The film shows children penning their thoughts in a letter to world leaders.

ChildFund staff ran activities with children in each country to explore the concept of “respect” and what it means to have their rights respected, then worked with filmmaker Miguel Herrera to capture their views in a beautiful 3-minute video.

“We used participatory techniques that are similar to the ones we use in the ChildFund Connect program, which is about creating a safe space for the children to lead the discussion and express their views and concerns,” says ChildFund Australia`s digital program manager Raul Caceres.

“We started with a simple activity with prompters to get the children thinking not only about their own views but issues for children around the world. In the cases where children were not able to write, we used other tools such as drawing or video cameras for them to interview each other to contribute their ideas.”

The children also took part in a role-play activity where they had to imagine a world leader had come to their school to ask children what they need to make the world a better place. After spending time discussing and thinking through their ideas, they produced letters or drawings addressed to world leaders covering issues ranging from war and peace, racism, violence and abuse to education, the environment and feeling loved and protected.

“The children had some very powerful things to say,” says Raul. “We hope people will take a few minutes to watch the video and help us share it far and wide on Universal Children’s Day.”

Help us share this video on 20 November by joining our Thunderclap!

Thank you to Mario Lagos of creative agency Lowe and Partners who donated time to this project.

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