I protest against the poverty and hunger in which so many children are forced to live by failing societies where greed is an economic norm. In the UK, alone, one in four children officially live in poverty… yet it is relative poverty. In many countries, poverty is the norm and means utter deprivation of even the most basic necessities. Every ten seconds, a child dies from hunger and its consequences. Almost nine hundred children die every day because they have no access to clean water.
I protest against the denial of medical care to any child. Every year, over 13 million children less than 5 years die from illnesses which could have been avoided or treated.
I protest against eager minds denied education in a world where so many have access to so much. Over a hundred million children, the adults of our own future, are growing up without access to an education.
I protest against the recruitment and indoctrination of child soldiers by any organisation. It is estimated that there are more than three hundred thousand child soldiers actively engaged in war, of with a third are girls. Most have no other choice and most suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
I protest the lost childhoods of children who are carers for family members. Over a half a million in the UK alone.
I protest against the young lives lost to war, murder and violence every single day. In Syria alone last year, at least 652 children were known to have been killed in the conflict. Terror attacks bring the loss ever closer to our homes; an eight year old girl was amongst the victims in the recent attack in Manchester.
I protest against the lives of children everywhere who live in fear. Thousands of children flee war-torn areas every day, many of them alone, separated from their families by war or death. Over half of the world’s refugees are children.
The picture is my granddaughter… loved, warm, safe and whole. She is now two years old and soon to be a big sister. She spends her time laughing at the world, discovering its wonders in joy and with an insatiable curiosity. She can already count and knows so many things which, to her, are magical.
She eats every day, has a room in which to sleep and is surrounded by a family of many generations who love her. She does not know how lucky she is.
Is it too much to ask that all children should be allowed to grow in love, safety and health?