The United Nations celebrates the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. This year on 20 March, the global community was joined by the Smurfs in commemorating the day.
Through the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign, the Smurfs encouraged young people everywhere to learn about and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs aim to make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.
Taking up the call of the Smurfs to achieve the Goals, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek spread happiness and raised awareness of the SDGs with pre-schoolers at Windhoek Gymnasium Pre-Primary on 28 March 2017.
The UNIC Windhoek team, who emulated the Smurfs by wearing white and blue on the day, taught the learners about the International Day of Happiness and what they can do to make other people happy. Through an engaging presentation and video from the Smurfs, the pre-primary learners understood why they should support and spread awareness of the 17 SDGs.
The children, excited about spreading happiness with their friends and family, were on the edge of their seats throughout the presentation and took every opportunity to answer questions posed to them.
When asked, ‘What is happiness?’ one learner smiled and said, “Happiness is riding a bike,” while another laughed and said, “Happiness is eating chocolate.”
The bright students, aware of the drought that Namibia has faced, said that by closing the tap people can save water and bring about happiness. One student said, “We can spread happiness by giving water to schools that don’t have any.”
As a way to have some fun and to exercise in line with Goal 3 of the SDGs ‘Good Health’, the UNIC Windhoek team sang and danced along to “If you’re happy and you know it” with the children. The pre-primary learners laughed and smiled, singing and clapping along.
A few other songs about happiness were played and the children could not help but show off a few dance moves. One learner showed off his break dancing abilities, and the whole audience cheered.
Ending the outreach, each learner received a giveaway package with items promoting the SDGs. Learners received reusable water bottles so that they can ‘reuse, reduce and recycle’ in line with Goal 12 ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ as well as an educational flyer about the SDGs which they can read with their parents. Each learner also received a picture of a Smurf to colour in, so that they can be reminded about helping the small Smurfs achieve the big Goals.
According to Pharrell Williams, the UN’s official ‘Happy Ambassador’, “Happiness is everyone’s birth right.” In order for all people to be happy and for the SDGs to be achieved, everyone must unite together, including the younger generation. The UNIC Windhoek team was inspired by how excited the Windhoek Gymnasium Pre-Primary learners were about making the world a happier place.