“Knock on doors, insist on rights”

The carol singers are campaigning for the rights of children during the 2012 Epiphany Singing. "Knock on doors, insist on rights," is the motto of this year's campaign. After Christmas, about 500.000 children and young people dressed up as the Three Wise Men will go from house to house to collect money for their peers in need.

"The carol singers want to urge that children's rights apply worldwide, that children everywhere have a right to education, health care and physical integrity," said the president of the children's missionary organization "Die Sternsinger", Klaus Kramer, in Aachen on Monday. "It's not just about collecting donations," said the president of the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ), Simon Rapp. "Children learn that boys and girls around the world need to stand up for their rights and can insist on their rights."

The target country for this year's Epiphany is Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Central America. Child labor is widespread there, Kramer said. About 500.000 school-age children did not attend school; many boys and girls were victims of sexual assault. "Violence is a big problem – it has almost become the norm in families," Kramer said, describing the situation in the Central American country. Many fathers of families, he said, were addicted to alcohol and left their families to work abroad. As a rule, the women, especially the grandmothers, kept the families together.

The nationwide carol singing campaign will open on 28. December in Mainz. Round 2.000 girls and boys from various dioceses will parade through downtown Mainz to the cathedral, where the opening service will take place with Cardinal Karl Lehmann. The carol singing campaign is considered the world's largest initiative by children for children. The campaign, which has been running since 1959, has so far raised around 772 million euros for more than 60.800 projects in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Eastern Europe. Last year, the carol singers collected about 41.8 million euros nationwide.

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