International Year of the Child
Overview
 
  • Maureen Millicent Bomford founded International Year of The Child and it was endorsed by the United Nations. Maureen was born in Canterbury Punchbowl in 1930 and had four brothers. Her father was a Mayor and she always learned to appreciate the value of leadership. As the wife of a prominent Anglican Minister in Sydney, NSW and in the Blue Mountains, Maureen developed her idea for many years.
Encyclopedia
  • Maureen Millicent Bomford founded International Year of The Child and it was endorsed by the United Nations. Maureen was born in Canterbury Punchbowl in 1930 and had four brothers. Her father was a Mayor and she always learned to appreciate the value of leadership. As the wife of a prominent Anglican Minister in Sydney, NSW and in the Blue Mountains, Maureen developed her idea for many years. In 1975 it was endorsed by the UN. Despite having five children and a parish (Springwood) to help care for, Maureen found time for her political life.


As a woman in the 1970s she had to struggle against some patriarchal paradigms within those institutions that prescribe women to restricted roles and expectations. She wrote to many world leaders every few months about welfare and social policy and maintained their correspondence through a litany of letters and telegrams. As her youngest daughter, I have vivid memories of licking envelopes and collating wads of letters, ready to send. She was supported in her efforts to do this by many who knew and loved her.
She travelled to New York in 1975 with her papers and writings. She insisted on meeting with the UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, who then initiated further development of the ideas and special events. A solo trip which was meant to last for sixteen days was cut short after three and a half days. Maureen had commissioned her project quickly, and so wanted to return to Springwood to be with her family.

As a result of her work and writings, as a result of the International Year of the Child, awareness and attitudes concerning all children has undergone change. An proliferation of programs and projects concerning children worldwide has been the consequence. One individual can make a big difference. There is a beautiful gift shop in the UN building that contains books written to celebrate and spread the child's perspective on life, peace and politics. In a very real way, Maureen gave a voice to the powerless.
Maureen died in 1978 before fully realising the power and implementation of her twenty year dream. But her legacy lives on. Her church and family were very important to her, but she viewed all children of the world as her responsibility. And she fought to free many from the terror of hunger and poverty overseas, while loving all the children she encountered face to face.
UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 proclaimed 1979 as the International Year of the Child. The proclamation was signed on January 1, 1979 by United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...

. A follow-up to the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child
Declaration of the Rights of the Child
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child is the name given to a series of related children's rights proclamations drafted by Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb in 1923....

, the proclamation was intended to draw attention to problems that affected children throughout the world, including malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 and lack of access to education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

. Many of these efforts resulted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children...

 in 1989.

Numerous events took place within the UN and in member countries to mark the event, including the Music for UNICEF Concert
Music for UNICEF Concert
The Music for UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song was a benefit concert of popular music held in the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on January 9, 1979. It was intended to raise money for UNICEF world hunger programs and to mark the beginning of the International Year of the Child. The...

, held at the UN General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on January 9. WBZ-TV
WBZ-TV
WBZ-TV, virtual channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station, located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. WBZ-TV's studios and office facilities, shared with sister station WSBK-TV , are located in the Allston-Brighton section of Boston, and its transmitter is located in Needham,...

 4 in Boston, Massachusetts, along with the four other Group W
Westinghouse Broadcasting
The Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, also known as Group W, was the broadcasting division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It owned several radio and television stations across the United States and distributed television shows for syndication....

 stations, hosted and broadcast a celebratory festival, "Kidsfair" (usually held around Labor Day ever since) from Boston Common
Boston Common
Boston Common is a central public park in Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Boston Commons". Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. The Boston Common consists of of land bounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street,...

. Canadian animator/director Eugene Fedorenko created a film for the National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions...

, called "Every Child
Every Child (film)
Every Child is an animated short film produced in 1979 by the National Film Board of Canada in association with UNICEF.This is a film without words, incorporating sounds by Les Mîmes Électriques .-Description:...

", which centered around a nameless baby who nobody wants because they're too busy with their own concerns. This was used to explain the importance of how every child is entitled to a home. Sound effects were created with the voices of Les Mimes Electriques.

See also

  • Elizabeth Bodine
    Elizabeth Bodine
    Elizabeth Bodine was a humanitarian who was given the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in July 1979 in recognition of the International Year of the Child. She was honored as the North Dakota Mother of the Year in 1968....

  • International observance
    International observance
    International observance denotes a period of time to observe some issue of international interest or concern. This is used to commemorate, promote and mobilize for action. Many of these periods have been established by the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council or by UNESCO...

  • International Women's Year
    International Women's Year
    International Women's Year was the name given to 1975 by the United Nations. Since that year March 8 has been celebrated as International Women's Day, and the United Nations Decade for Women, from 1976–1985, was also established.-International:...

  • International Youth Year
    International Youth Year
    The year 1985 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Youth Year, or IYY. It was held to focus attention on issues of concern to and relating to youth. The proclamation was signed on January 1, 1985 by United Nations Secretary General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.-Events:Throughout the...

  • Fear of children
    Fear of children
    Fear of children, fear of infants or fear of childhood is alternatively called pedophobia, paedophobia or pediaphobia. Other age-focused fears are ephebiphobia and gerontophobia...

  • Children's rights
    Children's rights
    Children's rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young, including their right to association with both biological parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education,...

  • Timeline of children's rights in the United Kingdom
    Timeline of children's rights in the United Kingdom
    The timeline of children's rights in the United Kingdom includes a variety of events that are both political and grassroots in nature.The UK government maintains a position that UNCRC is not legally enforceable and is hence 'aspirational' only, although a 2003 ECHR ruling states that, "The human...

  • Timeline of children's rights in the United States
    Timeline of children's rights in the United States
    The timeline of young peoples' rights in the United States, including children and youth rights, includes a variety of events ranging from youth activism to mass demonstrations...

  • Children's Rights Alliance for England
    Children's Rights Alliance for England
    Children's Rights Alliance For England is a London-based pressure group.CRAE was set up in 1991 after the UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to monitor the UK Government's commitment to upholding the document. They aim to protect the human rights of children in the...


External links

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