When we’re kids, it’s natural to wonder about what the future may hold. Kids who feel supported and safe have fun dreaming about what they’ll do when they grow up. But for those who don’t know their rights, the future may not seem so promising.
That’s why we celebrate Universal Children’s Day today. It’s the anniversary of the United Nations’ declaration that children everywhere have rights to the resources they need to thrive: personal safety, nutrition, education, and more — including understanding and love.
Scripture shows us Jesus had a special place in His heart for children. When His disciples tried to keep children away, Jesus said, “Do not hinder them,” and gave them the blessing they had come to receive (Matthew 19:13-14, NIV).
When children have the love, safety, education, and physical resources they need, they are empowered with choices for the future — choices they can use to create lasting change in their life and community. Just like Ima did.
A dream revived
At age 11, it seemed Ima’s future had been decided for her. “When I worked at the shrimp factory, I could not dream,” she says. She squatted for hours in the dark, surrounded by a stench stronger than human waste. The bosses beat girls when they made mistakes or worked too slowly, and Ima’s fingers were covered in cuts from the sharp shrimp tails.
She knew her only hope for a better life lay in being able to return to school. But her parents believed she should work. She had goals, but no way to pursue them.
Then World Vision opened a Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Center in her neighborhood in Bangladesh. When the center opened, so did a path for Ima to take charge of her future.
She and other girls started attending the center, catching up on the lessons they’d missed. Ima studied hard, and at age 13, returned to grade 5. She knows she can visit the center whenever she needs help. “When I go to the center, then I can complete my homework there,” she says.
Ima’s relationship with her parents has transformed too. Her mom started going to World Vision’s Positive Parenting classes, learning how to communicate with her kids and create a more nurturing home. Plus, now she understands why getting an education is best for Ima’s future.
A vision board the family created with World Vision captures how they’ve changed their lives, and what they want to do next. It highlights their goals and inspires the family to think about how to achieve them.
Now Ima says, “It is possible for me to dream.” She wants to become a doctor so she can help others. Just a few years ago, she felt locked into a future with no choices. But today, she knows she has a choice—and that there’s no limit to what her future can hold.
How you can empower kids for lasting change
You can help children around the world take charge of their futures by supporting resources like:
- Education for families and communities on exploitation prevention, the equal value of girls and boys, and the nurture of children
- Empowering children to protect themselves and one another
- Access to healthcare, educational support, and life skills training
When kids like Ima have the opportunity to choose their future, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish. Please join us today in helping them grow into all God created them to be.