This originally appeared on UNICEF’s Field Notes.
A child’s fifth birthday is a joyful moment for most parents, a milestone marking the passage out of early childhood into the world of pre-K and grade school and upward and onward.
It signifies the end of a wonderful period, though sometimes a tough one. After the candles are blown out and all the presents opened, more than a few parents have taken a deep breath, looked each other in the eyes, and said,” Wow, we survived.”
Of course, in much of the world, the fifth birthday marks a different kind of milestone — one sometimes greeted with an entirely different sentiment: “my child survived.” That’s because in so many places, for so many beautiful children, just reaching age five alive is a battle, a battle that many don’t win — 21,000 every day, more than 7 million every year.
Raising awareness about these children is a key to reaching the day when zero children die from preventable causes. That’s why we’ve partnered with USAID for a new social media campaign: “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday.” The idea: post a photo of yourself or your kids at age five. Share it. Friends can do the same and find out about the millions of children who never get a chance to celebrate being five.
Please join the campaign by taking a moment to upload a personal fifth birthday photo. And don’t be embarrassed about sharing that photo. If I did it, you can too!
You’ll be hearing more from us about the 5th Birthday campaign in the lead up to an exciting event in June. More to come!