"My daughter returns from far away, a true miracle," repeats Adama Issaka without ceasing. She caresses and holds her daughter Firdaoussou tightly. They look each other in the eyes for a long time then both break out in laughter.
Firdaoussou is 2 years old and has returned from far away. She has spent nearly half of her life fighting death from malnutrition. She won this fight and now gets to celebrate it every day with her mother in this touching complicity, imbued with smiles, winks and tenderness.
While there is not a universal day set aside to promote the welfare of children, nations have been doing so for close to 100 years.
In 1925, the World Conference for the Well-being of Children observed the first-ever Children’s Day on June 1. Today, more than 50 countries around the world hold their festivities that day. In the United States, children are celebrated on the second Sunday of June, or June 8 for 2014. And eight countries mark the United Nations’ as Universal Children’s Day on November 20.
In Kamonyi district in southern Rwanda, farmer Sylvie Nyiransabimana stands tall and wields a long wooden-handled hoe to dig small holes to plant vegetables – a chore she once had to do with a baby on her back. “It was extremely hard,” the mother of two recalls, taking a short break to retie her bright red head wrap. “Today I don’t get as tired and am much more productive at home.”