UN Day: Focus on mothers
The United Nations Day will be observed on October 24. The world body
was established 61 years ago, on October 24, 1945. However, celebrating
the UN Day started only in 1948.
The theme for this year's event is 'Maternal Health and Well-being: A
Cornerstone of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)'. Eight out of
the UN MDGs focus on different aspects of human conditions, from
tackling poverty and disease to improving literacy and nutrition.
One of the MDGs is to reduce the maternal mortality (women dying
during childbirth) rate by three quarters, by the year 2015. Currently,
over 500,000 pregnant women die each year from complications related to
childbirth, and 99 per cent of them are in developing countries. This
has resulted in many children being left without their mothers to take
care of them.
The Day seeks to improve the lives of the world's poor, the majority
of whom are in developing countries. A healthy educated mother is the
centre of the efforts to raise the level of human development at local
levels. A mother with access to good care during and after childbirth,
knowledge of the importance of safe drinking water and nutrition, and
training in the care of new-borns is ready to raise a healthy
A healthy and knowledgable mother can contribute more to the better
economic maintenance of a household, actively take part in her
children's lives such as by encouraging them to attend school, and
understand the dangers of diseases like HIV/AIDS.
This year's theme is intended to shed light on the challenges faced
by mothers in the developing world, and recognise the role of mothers
and families in establishing a brighter future for their communities.
The World Development Information Day is also celebrated on October
24. It was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to draw the
attention of the world to development problems and the need to
strengthen international cooperation to solve them.
The Assembly decided that the date should coincide with the UN Day,
which was also the date of adoption, in 1970, of the International
Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.
A visit to the Great Wall
You must have heard about the Great Wall of China which was built
along the north and east of this country a long time ago. It was
constructed to stop armies from other countries conquering China.
Tourists enjoying a picnic beside the Wall.
US astronauts who went to the moon had said that the Great Wall of
China was the only man-made thing on Earth, which was visible from the
moon. That is, without using a telescope. This is because the Great Wall
is 5,660 kilometres long and very wide.
The Great Wall of China during summer. In winter, it looks totally
different, with the trees shedding their leaves and snow all over
Chinese kings began building the Great Wall around 700 BC and it was
completed 2,200 years ago, said our guide who showed us around in China
during a recent visit. The Great Wall served as a watch tower too;
sentries were stationed along it to see whether armies from other
countries were coming closer. The Great Wall was also a road for the
Chinese army to move and shoot at other armies, who were trying to break
the wall down.
Everyday, thousands of tourists from China as well as from all over
the world climb the Great Wall. But, some places are difficult to climb,
because the Great Wall goes up very high mountains, and down through
very deep valleys. In one place, it is said that the Great Wall goes
through an ocean of clouds.
In some places, the Great Wall is also a place to picnic, as you will
see in this picture taken north of Beijing, which is the capital of
China. In fact, the Great Wall guarded Beijing, which was where the
Chinese kings lived, for many hundreds of years.
The Great Wall also has museums to remember the kings who ordered the
construction of the wall, the many Chinese people who built it,
sacrificing many years of their lives and the millions of Chinese
workers who died in the process of building such a large and difficult
structure. The Great Wall was sometimes built over their dead bodies, as
the work went on.