It’s this time of the year again. The holiday season. Christmas is just around the corner – at least for the ca. 2 billion people celebrating it. And so we’ve entered the part of the year, where time slows down a little (at least for those who already have purchased the presents and decorations, gifts and food ingredients), where we think more of one another, our near and dear ones and those people in the world who are subjected to injustices, suffering and pain, war and conflict.
Several million children around the world will not have a peaceful, joyful, healthy, happy holiday season. In the USA, there are 11 million children of alcoholics. In Australia, 34% of all children grow up with at least one alcohol-addicted parent. And in the European Union, there are 9 million children of alcoholics. In other parts of the world, the numbers of children suffering from their parent’s alcohol addictions, is not even measured. Many of the children of alcoholics in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America end up as street children.
In IOGT International, we dedicate our efforts to support, protect and empower all children, and especially the most vulnerable ones. With this little film, I want to thank all who are with us, who dedicate themselves to making the world a better for our children. I want to thank you all for your heart-driven efforts, for your support of IOGT in 2014. It’s been a fantastic year for us. And I want to wish you all a magical 2015.
The holiday season is special for its spirit of community and shelter. And it is special for a tragic reason: possibly there’s no other seemingly joyous period during a year where children are as exposed to harm caused by grown-ups as during the holiday season. For example, in the US, mothers convicted of child abuse are three times, and fathers 10 times, more likely to be alcoholics.
Alcohol has taken over Christmas. It’s fuelled by the alcohol industry that earns large profits from grown-ups focusing on booze instead of on kids. So, we know, for example that children often experience anxiety when their parents use alcohol. They cannot understand why mommy and daddy are changing, why they start acting strangely.
In IOGT we work tirelessly around the year for the welfare and well-being of the world’s children. Alcohol is an obstacle for children’s happiness and joy, well-being and future success – and the holiday season makes this abundantly clear.
2014 has been a marvellous year in many aspects. But there’s more to do in 2015. I wish we, the grown-ups who run this world and who have build these societies, will take more time to look into the eyes of our children – it’s where we can see most clearly what we must do this holiday season and in 2015.