UNICEF Meeting

On 24th January 2013 an important activity on Children's Rights was held at Scuola Media "Guido Fassi", Secondary School part of Istituto Comprensivo Carpi 2.

The event was planned and organized by Italian teacher Prof. Fiorella Iacono and Prof. Enea Storchi Incerti, Comenius Partnership coordinator for Italy.

 All classes had the opportunity to listen to an interesting lecture by Prof. Marica Porelli, Unicef volunteer in Modena.

Firstly, she explaned the history of Unicef which is an institution created by United Nations in 1946 with a provisional mandate.

In 1948 the United Nations  approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in 1953 the mandate for Unicef became permanent. The organization was awarded the Noben Peace Prize in 1965.

After long talks and discussions on 20th November 1989 the Convention on Children's Rights wa approved by 191 countries at the UN assembly. Only two countries didn't approve it: USA and Somalia.

The guidelines on which the Convention is based are:


Non-discrimination : The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.

Best interests of the child : The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.

Right to life, survival and development: Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.

Respect for the views of the child : When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This does not mean that children can now tell their parents what to do. This Convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making -- not give children authority over adults. 

Unicef works on children's health, education, nutrition, water need, vaccinations, HIV/AIDS. Nutrition is, especially, one of the main emergencies on which the organization works as so many children die  or risk to die for this. It would be helpful  to give them energy bars or dissolve energy milk powder in water to feed them. It ia also important to remember the mothers to give children milk from their breast.She said we must also remember that many diseases can pass from mother to child, especially the ones by sexual transmission. It is very important to prevent all this by good information campaigns and child care.

Children have also the right to education but in many countries children cannot go because they do not have money or because they must help family for food and water. Most of them must work hard and in bad conditions. For this reasons lots of children do not have their right to play and have free time

Mrs. Porelli continued to talk about last Unicef campaign: 'No death for children', after that she said that, in the world, so many children are not registered while they have the right to an identity and a name, they are ghost children. This is one of their main civil rights.

Other problem is that many children are orphans and nobody provides for them; the consequence is that, in some countries, children are recluted as soldiers, armed and sent in dangerous situations, other times the children themselves choose to enroll in the army because they know there is someone who cna take care of them. Children who manage to run away must undergo psychological treatment for trauma as often those who did not want to enlist were taken by force. 

An important task for Unicef is to fight AIDS and HIV as every minute one child is infected and every day 6000 children and teenagers are infected in all parts of the world. Unicef has four points about this: 1- prevent HIV transmission; 2- Prevent infection among adolescents; 3- Pediatric care; 4- Adolescents information and care.

Mrs. Porelli said that the Italian Unicef organization is conducting two campaigns:

1- IO COME TU (I like You): a campaign  against discrimination in our country. This is for foreign children and adoloscents who live, grow and study in Italy. All children and teenagers are equal: why shouldn't their rights be the same? ragazzini sono tutti uguali, perché i loro diritti no?

2-  VOGLIAMO ZERO (We Want ZERO): 22.000 children die every day before their 5th birthday because of diseases that can be prevented and cured. We want to get ZERO!
It is important that we become aware of the urgency of all this and as school, classes, children and families we can do as much as we can.


Prof. Iacono introducing the Unicef event                                         7th year students listening to the lecture