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Leaders, Children, Celebrities and Partners champion inclusion and non-discrimination #ForEveryChild through sports with UNICEF

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NEW DELHI: World Children’s Day was celebrated today in a festive event where children played a friendly futsal match, performed a choreographed dance with leaders and celebrities on their side, sending a fervent message on how important it is for them to feel celebrated, included, and be treated fairly and equally – whoever they are and wherever they live.


Speaking at the event, Smt. Meeta Rajivlochan, Secretary Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India said “The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports focuses on tailored and holistic wellbeing and development of young people through country-wide volunteering organisations. Let us commit today to ensure that every child and young person in this country has the resources, skills, opportunities, and spaces to voice their views to lead India to a brighter tomorrow.


Hundreds of children gathered in Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium in South Delhi. A team of 20 children played a friendly futsal match with the legendary cricketer and UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar and celebrated Bollywood Star and UNICEF’s Celebrity Advocate Ayushmann Khurrana. Renowned musician Ricky Kej, also a Celebrity Advocate for UNICEF, conducted a musical concert for, about and with children. Nearly a hundred children rendered an art performance creatively depicting unity in diversity, inclusion and equality.


In opening remarks, Ms. Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF Representative to India said, “World Children’s Day is a time for all of us to renew our collective promises for every child, especially for girls, to be included and protected and reach their full potential, unhindered by gender stereotypes, inequalities, and other barriers. When it comes to #ChildRights, there can be only one team! UNICEF India is privileged to support this cross sectoral movement in India, a country that has made remarkable strides on improving outcomes for its youngest stakeholders and sees children as force multipliers for generational transformations. I thank the Secretary Youth Affairs and Sports and celebrities who joined today and reinforced the message on fighting discrimination and symbolically kicking it out of the park through sports.”


Legendary cricketer and Regional Ambassador for UNICEF South Asia, Sachin Tendulkar, said, “I’ve always believed that sports liberate us from many shackles and helps us be better human beings. It plays a more important role for girls and women as it equips them with more power and confidence to make their mark. Today’s game showed this. UNICEF’s efforts to link play and child rights are commendable. The game is yours as long as you have the passion in your heart.”


Bollywood star and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate Ayushmann Khurrana, said, “When we play, we become a team and realise that our determination, passion, and enthusiasm are all that matter. This is what we are here to celebrate. Let’s empower girls and boys to promote equality and inclusion for all children. UNICEF, thank you for organising this event on a theme I care about.”


Two-time Grammy award winner and UNICEF Celebrity Supporter, Ricky Kej along with virtuoso musicians from across the country performed specially crafted audio-visual experience dedicated to children and future leaders of the world – meant to not only inspire change but also encourage children to tap into their creativity.


Famed Indian sprinter Hima Das joined children-centred activities of UNICEF Assam in marking the World Children’s Day.


A creative art presentation by 100 school children highlighted stories of inclusion and non-discrimination in a captivating dance form.


This World Children’s Day’s theme is on sports as a powerful means to promote inclusion, equality and non-discrimination. Sports also help children develop important life skills such as leadership, discipline, teamwork, tolerance, hard work and cooperation.