What makes children happy when they live in some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities?

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Barriers to education, Child marriage, Children in conflicts, Children's welfare after natural disasters, Days in the childhood development calendar, Discrimination of marginalised children, Girls' education, Right to education

The United Nations has celebrated International Day of Happiness every year since 2013 – to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. 

Countries and organisations are working hard to ensure the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – which aim to end poverty, reduce inequality, give quality education to everyone and protect our planet – will all lead to happier lives.

Two charities – Children on the Edge (which helps marginalised and forgotten children living on the edge of their societies) and World Vision (the largest international children’s charity) asked young people what makes them happy.

Some of them live in humanitarian emergencies or refugee camps – but despite their basic and often frightening circumstances, the children can still find things to smile about.

Here – in their own voices – they tell us what makes them happy.

Sreynou, 8, from Cambodia

What Makes You Happy 1

“I like drawing and painting very much. After I finished I will show older sister and my parents.” (Ratha Ung / World Vision )

Diksha, 14, from India

Children On The Edge International Day Of Happiness 3

Her mother agreed for her to be married but Dishka wanted to study. She told her teacher about the arranged marriage, who intervened and was able to convince her mother that the marriage wasn’t right. I am very happy. I am studying. I thank my teacher for giving me a new life”. (Children on the Edge)

Truong, 12, from Vietnam

What Makes You Happy 2

“Grazing penned cows in free time always makes me happy because I can lend a small helping hand to my mum and enjoy running freely with them, especially the new calveson some patches of grass in our village at the same time. Cows help my family to feel secure about our future.” (Le Thiem Xuan/World Vision )

Rama, Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh

Children On The Edge International Day Of Happiness 2

“My arms would get very tired carrying the water from the registered camp. I’m very happy we now have clean water close to where we live”. (Children on the Edge)

Rita, 10, from Nepal

What Makes You Happy 3

When I get to skip alone or with friends is what makes me the happiest. I can skip 30 to 40 times at one stretch.” (Sunjuli Kunwar / World Vision )

Saiful, 9, from Bangladesh

Children On The Edge International Day Of Happiness 1

“I like being able to collect stories and poems from my friends, it gives me happiness.” (Children on the Edge)

Jenny, 11, from Laos

What Makes You Happy 4

“I am very happy when I come to my garden because it is green and it also makes income.” (Ammala Thomisith / World Vision )

Ibanshai, 14. from India

What Makes You Happy 6

“I love reading folklore stories about my tribe and country. In the future I want to read more about the history of India.” (Daniel Mung / World Vision)

Nazia from Bangladesh

Nazia From Bangladesh Grows Vegetables With Her Mother

“I recently made a vegetable garden at home with my mother. I have planted radish, brinjal, vegetable leaf and tomato. Every week this brings money to support my family. I have been encouraged in how to do this from my school activities. There is a flower and vegetable garden which I have created there with my friends. This made me realise I can do it in my home and I share it with my mother. She is saying all the time: ‘Education is a big thing’. I am very happy. I have done something for my family.”.

Abhisekh, 11, from Nepal

What Makes You Happy 7

“I am happy when we do scientific experiments. We did an experiment at school on dynamos and how we could light a bulb which was very interesting.” (Sunjuli Kunwar / World Vision )

Phuong, 6, from Vietnam

What Makes You Happy 5

“Visiting my aunt’s home makes me happy because there I can hold many baby chicks. They use their tiny beaks to break the egg shells to get out.” (Le Thiem Xuan / World Vision)

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