In 1954 the United Nations declared Universal Children’s Day as a day to promote children’s welfare throughout the world. Celebrated on or around November 20th each year, United Ways rely on terrific volunteers to help celebrate children and reinforce their right to a good education, to the basics like enough food, clothing and shelter, and the chance to experience an active and healthy life.
United Way Bengaluru (India) organized perhaps one of the most joyful celebrations, a two-day carnival at Cubbon Park called “Makkala Habba.” United Way partnered with Vidyaranya the Women and Child Development Department of the Karnataka state government to host the event, which allowed children to learn about their history and culture while playing games and learning traditions from previous generations.
More than 60 volunteers helped set up various stalls and led children in playing games and helping them learn old-fashioned skills, such as making pottery and bricks and churning butter. An old-fashioned horn on a bicycle was used to announce the various activities, including bullock cart rides, storytelling by grandmothers, skating on coconut palms, flower weaving and splendid cultural performances. United Way also was able to share information about our Born Learning initiative, which helps parents find fun ways to nurture their children’s learning from birth.
Many volunteers commented on how fun it was to experience the exuberance of children playing games that were new to them. Rashmi Barthwal, who volunteered with coworkers, said “It was a different and amazing experience, where I felt I am truly contributing for the welfare of the society.”
Makkala Habba is an example of what United Way means by our call to action to LIVE UNITED. No matter where you are in the world, on Universal Children’s Day or any other, you too can experience the joy and amazement that comes with giving back.