1 June 2017

International Children's Day, June 1st, Mongolia

If you were in UB today and wondered why there was a descent of children into the main city centre … welcome to the celebration of Mother and Children's Day - Mongolian style.

June 1st is also known as International Day For Child Protection. In Mongolia it is referred to as both Children's Day and Mother and Children's Day, although, in honesty, the celebrations focus much more on the children than any mums.

It is a public holiday and  is celebrated throughout the country. In fact, it is a date that has been celebrated in Mongolia for over 60 years.

Although the population of Mongolia is small (3 million), it is a young popultation. According to the 2010 Census, nearly 28% of the country are between 0-14 years of age. Also, of the almost 1.3 million people that live in Ulaanbaatar, over 30% are children.

The first-ever child organisation and movement in Mongolia was established on May 5, 1925, at the initiation of the Mongolian writer D.Natsagdorj and youth of that time. 

Mongolia joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 as the fifth member, and developed the Law on Protecting Children’s Rights according to the convention’s views. The law was ratified on May 8, 1996.

In 2014, the free Child Helpline 108 was initiated by Mongolia's National Authority for Children, World Vision Mongolia, and Mobicom Corporation  It's focus is help to reduce child abuse cases and strengthen the child protection system in Mongolia. It provides children with information, advice and assistance and children can Children can call 108 from anywhere, anytime, toll-free to seek advice, report abuse, domestic violence or peer pressure. 

And just last year, the Parliament of Mongolia passed Mongolia's first ever Law on Child Protection making a significant step towards fulfilling every child’s right to protection and with the overall aim to strengthen comprehensive child protection systems to respond to risks and vulnerabilities of children to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.  

But today, June 1st, is more about the fun aspect of being a child.  

If you went to Sukhbaatar Square you would have experienced the Mongol Child event which included 15 different types of traditional Mongolian games and toys, including ankle bone games, riddles, puzzles, and board games. Why you ask? Well, although it might not sound like a party to us, Mongolian's are extremely talented at mind games. In December 2016. Mongolia took 1st-7th ranking in the junior category (12-17 years of age) at the World Memory Championships.

Whilst at Sukhbaatar Square you may have seen one of my trip assistants there. Oyuha is the founder of the Friends Help Friends organisation. Every June 1st they come to Sukhbaatar Square to educate children about the dropping of rubbish. This mainly student group, make bins out of boxes and encouraging children not to drop their litter. They're a motivated and dedicated bunch.

So that's what June 1st is all about here in Mongolia. If  you would like  to know about other public holidays and festivals happening in Mongolia , you can always look the Mongolian Festivals page on the Eternal Landscapes website.

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