#OneDay4Children launched ahead of #CWC19
Mid-April saw the ICC and UNICEF launch the exciting #OneDay4Children campaign through Cricket World Cup events in London and Birmingham.
In London, #OneDay4Children ambassador Nasser Hussain and England all-rounder Chris Woakes, launched the tournament-wide campaign focussed on bringing the world of cricket together as one team to help build a better world for every child.
This was then shown to the public through a city-centre activation in Birmingham. At this event children from local schools quizzed Nasser Hussain and Eoin Morgan about the Cricket World Cup and #OneDay4Children, followed by a game of street cricket in Victoria Square. The event showcased the colour and excitement that we can expect in Birmingham on the 30th June when the official #OneDay4Children match day takes place.
The next #OneDay4Children activity that we can look forward to is the launch of the Prize Draw on the 30th May, where fans will have the opportunity to win a range of unique prizes throughout the tournament for any donation to UNICEF.
Unicef in Bangladesh
21-year old spin bowler Mehedy Hasan Miraz has become a UNICEF child rights advocate in a bid to support disadvantaged children in his home country, Bangladesh. It is as vital as ever to get famous and respected sportspeople into humanitarian work to ensure that the message is always being amplified that inequality is rife on our planet.
Miraz was announced in the role at a media briefing with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on 30 May. He becomes the second Bangladesh cricketer to take up a position with UNICEF, after 32-year old all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.
Edouard Beigbeder, representative of UNICEF Bangladesh, was delighted to introduce Miraz as part of their plans. "We are pleased that Mehedy Hasan Miraz has given his consent to join us as a Child Rights Advocate to promote children’s issues," he said.
"Given his huge fan following in the national and international cricketing arena and strong interest in children’s issues, I am certain that he will become a powerful child rights advocate and will be able to contribute significantly to amplify the voice of disadvantaged and marginalised children of Bangladesh.
“Given the immense popularity of cricket in this country, cricketers are seen as national idols. When they speak, the country listens. We are, therefore, confident that the voice of Mehedy Hasan Miraz can be used to secure the rights of children of this country."
Unicef in Afghanistan
Unicef has worked for the children of Afghanistan for 70 years, helping them to live, learn and play. Children’s education has been devastated by more than 30 years of conflict in Afghanistan. Around half of all children are not in school, and most of these are girls.
Unicef is helping to strengthen schools in Afghanistan, providing quality education for every child. Sport plays a vital role in children’s education because it inspires, empowers and breaks down barriers.
Nowhere is this more evident than cricket in Afghanistan today. The success of the national team has swept the country. Often with just a branch for a bat and a stone for a wicket, girls and boys in Afghanistan have been hooked by cricket.
Right to play
Ettifaq, Nangarhar, Afghanistan
There are more than a thousand families in Ettifaq village in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province, near the border with Pakistan. Many are from Pakistan or people displaced by violence and conflict in neighbouring provinces of Afghanistan.
While Ettifaq is now a sanctuary from surrounding areas of conflict, a recent influx of families following armed conflict in Khogyani has further increased the strain on life in the village. There is limited access to clean water. Schools and health facilities are far away and poorly equipped. Children struggle to find a place to meet and play.
UNICEF Afghanistan works to create a safe and caring environment for children like those in Ettifaq, whose daily lives have been disrupted by conflict, displacement or migration.
Child-friendly spaces offer a secure setting where children can be children, where they can play together. These sanctuaries also offer vaccinations, life-saving food for malnourished children and health check-ups, as well as protecting children from exploitation and trafficking.
Opening doors for girls
Zainab, 10, and her six siblings left Khogyani a few months ago when it was engulfed by fighting. Their home has since been bombed.
The child-friendly space in their neighbourhood has provided Zainab and her sister Madina, 8, with their first chance to go to school.
“I always wished to study and play with other girls but never had an opportu
nity to go to a place where I could do that.” Zainab, 10, dreams of becoming a teacher.
“Our house is very far from a girls’ school, and the girls cannot travel far because of the insecurity here,” Zainab’s mother, Najiba, explains. “No girls from our neighbourhood go to school.”
Zainab is happier since joining the child-friendly space. The displacement had made her less social, but she now interacts with children and has a safe place to socialize. She has also learned new things about hygiene and is taking better care of herself and her younger sisters.
“The centre is a big opportunity for our daughters to get together and interact with other children. We feel our daughters are safe there and hope one day they will find a chance to go to school as well,” Najiba says.
Solving problems, sharing dreams
Meraaj is 13 years old and in Grade 8. Six months ago, his family left their home in Kunar Province after his father was killed by ongoing violence. An uncle helped Meraaj’s family resettle in Ettifaq and shares his home with them. The family of three sisters, two brothers and their mother share one room.
Meraaj rises early every morning to help his uncle, a house painter, until 9am. In return, his uncle pays a small amount to help the family meet their basic needs. A month ago, he started going to the child-friendly space after finishing work.
“I used to feel sad and lonely because I lost my best friends and schoolmates when we had to leave our home. I wished for someone to talk to.
“Since I started coming here, I made three best friends. We play and enjoy our time together. Whenever I feel unhappy, I share my problems with them and then I feel lighter.” Meeraj, 13
Rahimullah, 14, is one of Meerah’s new friends: “When Meraaj joined the class, he wouldn’t talk to us,” Rahimullah says. “He was very sensitive and cried over small things. He eventually talked about his father’s death and how upset he is about his family’s poor economic situation.”
He adds, “Before this place, we couldn’t even afford a football. We didn’t have access to a person like our teacher who guides us to be good friends to each other.”
A place for everyone
Saima is a 12-year-old returnee from Pakistan. Her family of nine lost their father a few years ago, leaving her mother widowed and her eldest brother Basit, 17, to lead the family. Basit works at a brick-making factory after school to support his family.
Alongside her family’s struggles, Saima lives with a cognitive impairment that makes her day-day-day life even harder.
“It was not safe to let her go places by herself,” says Raj Bibi, Saima’s mother. “She used to sit at home, getting bored, crying for me to allow her to go outside. Now we have a safe place in the village for our daughters to play and learn.”
The power of girls, India
It is early morning and Hemlata is already practising her bowling. The Power of Girls was launched to build a girl’s cricket team to emphasize the importance of sports and fitness and to raise awareness about gender and caste discrimination. Hemlata promotes child rights for tribal communities. She is supported by UNICEF’s mentorship initiative in Madhya Pradesh that aims to strengthen the voices of young people and build their leadership skills.