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Children in Bihar celebrate UNICEF’s 70 Years with Happiness and Hope

Bihar Government, CSOs and UNICEF come together to showcase the work being done for children -- from birth to adolescence -- at a Child Rights Fest – For Every Child, Hope 
24 January, Patna, Bihar: Around 2000 came together to celebrate 70 years of UNICEF and the National Girl Child Day at an edutaining event `Har Bacche Ke Liye Ummidon Ka Aasmaan - Bal Adhikar Utsav’ (For every Child – Hope: Child Rights Festival) on 24 January at Kilkari Bihar Bal Bhawan, Patna, the state capital of the 3rd most populous state in India.  
His Excellency Governor of Bihar Sri Ramnath Kovind inaugurated the festival, first by releasing 70 balloons  to mark UNICEF’s 70 years and then by the traditional lighting of the lamp along with the Managing Director, Women's Development Corporation, Dr N Vijaylakshmi, Secretary, Education Department, Mr Jitendra Srivastav, IG Police (Weaker Section), Mr Anil Kishore Yadav, State Project Director, Bihar Education Project Council, Mr Sanjay Singh, Director Kilkari, Jyoti Parihar and noted writer Padamshree Dr Usha Kiran Khan, UNICEF Bihar Chief Asadur Rahman, UNICEF Bihar Communication Specialist, Nipurnh Gupta, in the presence of representatives from government, CSOs, UNICEF, media, and children from different parts of Bihar. 
H.E. Governor of Bihar congratulated UNICEF for its work for children’s rights. He highlighted that children are the present, and not just the future. It is important to focus on their needs and aspirations NOW, so that they could become empowered citizens of tomorrow. He made an impassioned plea for girls’ empowerment and called for a change in the traditions and mind-sets in the way the society looked at girls. He urged the girls to celebrate their birthdays as National Girl Child Day. 
All dignitaries acknowledged UNICEF’s contribution to the rights and wellbeing of children and drew special attention to the rights of the girl child. 
UNICEF Bihar Chief Mr Asadur Rahman gave an overview of UNICEF’s journey, key milestones achieved for children as well as the challenges which remain. He appreciated the development strides being made in Bihar under the leadership of Bihar CM and made a strong plea for the adoption of the State Policy for Children and formulation of the State Action Plan for children in Bihar on the lines of National Action Plan for Children.  
Two children, Babli and Ayush shared their stories highlighting how they overcame their fears and are now moving forward in their life with courage, dignity and confidence. Their stories were part of over 300 letters sent by children across Bihar in response to UNICEF Bihar’s appeal ` `Bacho Sunao hamein Wo Kahani’ asking children to `share their real-life experiences’ to mark UNICEF's 70th anniversary in December 2016. 
Children who have been part of different initiatives supported by UNICEF Bihar in the past – some of them bright young adults now --  shared their experiences with present day children and urged them to follow their dreams and champion the cause of child rights. 
The event – including sessions in the auditorium and the Festival ground -- was excellently anchored by children, Yash, Priyeshwara, Hema, Priyantara and Navin. 
Key Highlights of the UNICEF@70 Child Rights Festival:
- UNICEF’s journey (1949-2016) was showcased through a film as well as walkway display    
- Ten Info-stalls on child rights – themed on continuum of care across life-style stages, from birth to adolescence -- were put up by UNICEF together with State Health Society Bihar, Women Development Corporation, Departments of Social Welfare, Education, Rural Development, Jeevika, Police Department and NGOs like Bal Sakha, Childline, Vikramshila, and Pratham and many others
- Hundreds of children got their BMI (weight and height) and Hb checked, played interactive games on child rights and got tips on health, nutrition, sanitation, menstrual health, life skills and career counselling. 
- In a special `Cinema-stall’ children enjoyed films on different themes and schemes; AdhaFull and Meena films were also screened. 
- Children actively participated in a quiz on child rights, painting and slogan writing, Teeku-Talk programme on Routine Immunization, pledge-taking, and cultural programme at the gala event