Onthe occasion of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will come together with several organisations to call for schools to reopen and to prioritize children’s mental health, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
A joint statement reads: “…COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the existing economic disparities and also shown how inequalities violate the rights of many children. While some children have access to online education, millions of students, their parents and teachers, are digitally illiterate and lack access to digital devices and internet connections and are thus deprived of online education.”
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO), as of mid-October 2021, around the world there were 58.7 million affected students.
“We call on all persons of faith and goodwill and faith communities to take urgentaction so that schools and educators are prepared to create learning environments that are sensitive to the social, emotional, and the spiritual needs and concerns identified by children and youth, while also responding to the changing realities and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the statement.
The WCC has also called for school curricula to teach about climate change and existing solutions in school, and to secure access to school supplies which are climate-responsible and eco-certified.
These child-focused climate justice initiatives reflect the Churches’ Commitments to Children, a WCC partnership with UNICEF created in 2015 that has resulted in an action plan developed with churches, child rights experts and children themselves.