Wishful Smiles Celebrates Universal Children’s Day in Parliament


Guests Include Virendra Sharma MP and H Dhami

Wishful Smiles celebrated Universal Children’s Day with Virendra Sharma MP, on Thursday 20th November, at the House of Commons. Universal Children’s Day was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954. It was established to encourage all countries to institute a day firstly, to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children, and secondly, to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare and human rights of the world’s children. 


Universal Children’s day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but also to raise awareness of children around the globe who have fallen victim to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. 


The event promoted the work of the partners of Wishful Smiles, who strive to protect the world’s children. Virendra Sharma MP opened the evening with a very touching speech, where he acknowledged children around the world who, even today, are living in hardships. He stated that it is a matter very close to his heart and expressed the need to promote the welfare and human rights of our children globally.


The event was attended by people from all ethnic and professional backgrounds; Arsenal Football players Hector Bellerin, Semi Ajayii and Millwall’s Danny Shittu, as well as Brit-Asian Singer H-Dhami were amongst the attendees of the event to show support for the cause.


Selina Hotwani, Director at Wishful Smiles, outlined the vision of Wishful Smiles and their ambition to build hospitals to help the world’s most underprivileged and deprived communities. Wishful Smiles introduced their partner organisations. Fatima Anwar, Head of Development for CarePakistan, who affirmed the importance of educating children in Pakistan, and how Care’s work over the last 25 years has established 256 schools, giving 175,000 children the right of receiving an education. Chandni Kalyanji, also a Director at Wishful Smiles, presented the work of RedBrigade Lucknow, a self-defence group headquartered in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India: an organisation that works to serve victims of sexual violence by Training women in the art of self-defence, and providing a safe home for victims of sexual violence. Kirith Ahluwalia, Volunteer at Wishful Smiles, highlighted the work of Maiti Nepal, an organisation that crusades to protect Nepali girls and women from crimes like domestic violence, trafficking for flesh trade, child prostitution, child labour and various forms of exploitation and torture.


Guest Speaker Tobi Alabi, ex-professional Footballer and founder of the Heart4More foundation, discussed his journey from leaving professional football to setting up Heart4More. He set up ‘The Heart4More Foundation’ in order to raise awareness of life-threatening heart conditions that can affect footballers and society in general. The#‎LetsChangeTheGame campaign has been set up to make it mandatory for all professional players to be screened on a yearly basis to pick up any potentially life-threatening heart conditions that could be fatal. Debi Stevens, guest speaker from Action Breaks Silence, discussed her role in empowering women and children around the globe through the art of self-defence.


The event brought many organisations together to spread awareness of the hardships our children are suffering worldwide. As the motto ‘Healing Hearts through Joining Hands’ suggests, when likeminded people and organisations collaborate for a bigger purpose, they double their efforts and can make a significant difference to those that are in need, and that’s exactly what Wishful Smiles, their guest speakers, and partner organisations achieved.


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