Almost all the children believed if world leaders listened to them the world would be a better place. Picture: Xinhua/Marios Lolos

To mark World Children’s Day (November 20), the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) asked children around the world the following question: “If you had a super power to improve the lives of children, what would that be?”

Affirmingly, almost all of them chose a super power that would help children in overcome inequalities.

A child in Japan maintained that it would be to “Buy them (children) books, pay fees and give them good housing" while one from Kenya said their superpower would be one of defending children from any kind of abuse and to always watch over them and encouraging them to move ahead.

“Flying. So I could bring food to the poor children" was a comment from Mexico and in The Netherlands, a young one there maintained theirs would be "to turn dirty water into clean water and help stop diseases affecting children.”

A short World Children's Day survey recently conducted by Unicef in SA and seven other countries with children between the ages of nine and 16 found that children have many concerns. The three top factors that children worry about most is violence against them, being bullied and poor education.

Other interesting results of the survey included the fact that an overwhelming majority of children are perturbed by and factors that threatened the entire end environment. Many of the children also felt their opinions are never considered. 

Almost all the children believed if world leaders listened to them the world would be a better place. They also pointed out that while smartphones are by far now the most popular mode of communication they still view traditional media such as TV, Radio, and print magazines as still relevant and widely consumed.

Since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989, the rights of millions of children have been protected globally. World Children’s Day aims to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide of their rights and responsibilities and collective efforts to improve the welfare and development of children everywhere.

Annually, the day presents a time of reflection for countries to examine how children are treated and take stock of how rights are applied to children. We know that despite tremendous progress over the past decades, there remain challenges. Recent data has shown that, globally 385 million children live in extreme poverty and that 264 million children and youth are out of school.

This year, Unicef is working with children and with partners around the world to raise our voices in solidarity with the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

To be a part of this global movement in protecting children and promoting their rights visit

* Sandra Bisin is chief of communications, Unicef South Africa