"Every child is born bearing the message that God
has not yet lost faith in humanity."
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet, Noble Prize for literature, 1913.
Every child, in his or her own way, communicates to us both the beauty and the pain of life, reminding us at the same time of our responsibility towards him or her. The birth of a child is a sign of renewed hope for us all; we therefore owe him or her the best we have to give.
It is for this reason that Bice concentrates its efforts into promoting children's dignity and into ensuring the implementation of their fundamental rights, which, all too often, are still not taken seriously.
Believing in children
Affirming that children have rights
As human beings in their own right, children have fundamental and inalienable rights. A child growing into adulthood is vulnerable and should be accompanied and protected. BICE makes children aware of their personal dignity and rights. It brings this same awareness to their parents, their family, and close friends and to all those who play a part in their development, including public authorities.
Working with each child’s own « life force »
When children and adolescents' rights are denied to them by harsh and unjust living conditions, when they do not have enough guidance, they can be helped to rediscover their self-esteem and confidence in life. Children have significant inner resources, which will emerge if they can talk to someone, be listened to with love and respect, and be protected. BICE promotes resilience, which enables children to rebuild their own lives.
Safeguarding all aspects of children’s development
Children need to be protected, fed, cared for and taught. Their psychological well-being is also essential. Their family and community ties must be preserved. Children have a right to be carefree, a right to laughter, to smile and to play, as well as a right to a bright future. In order to fully develop and be happy, whatever their circumstances, children also need to be able to reflect on the meaning of their lives and have their spiritual potential respected. BICE's spiritual dimension encourages this respect.
Mobilising resources so that all children can live with dignity
Being involved « in the field » with children in need
In many places children's rights are denied to an intolerable extent: they suffer enslavement, are exploited for their labour, abandoned on the streets, exploited and sexually abused, forced into the military, imprisoned: Disabled children are also often treated harshly. These situations generate harm while causing serious suffering to children and adolescents. In order to eradicate these practices - in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe&CIS - BICE, together with its local partners, is committed to preventing such violence and to relentlessly promoting children's rights. Active participation from children themselves is central to BICE's action.
Stimulating reflection and research on children
BICE links experience acquired in the field with scientific research on childhood, so that the two branches can learn from one another. BICE represents a space for ongoing reflection and critical thinking and shares ideas, skills and best practices through its publications, website and the training it offers.
Being a voice for children
Now, more than ever before, defending and promoting children's rights calls for concerted action on a global level. BICE campaigns with children to civil society, governments and international bodies such as United Nations agencies, the Council of Europe and European Union institutions. By bringing together the expertise of many organisations committed to serve children, BICE was one of the initiators of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. To this day, it continuously monitors its application and evolution, together with other NGOs.
The best interest of the child is at the
heart of BICE's commitment.
Key facts of the organisation
Legally a French association, BICE is an international and non-governmental organisation recognised by the Holy See, and enjoying consultative status at the United Nations. It was founded in 1948 at the instigation of Catholic organisations to provide help for children after the turmoil of the Second World War.
BICE serves all children without discrimination or proselytising, fully respecting their nationality, culture and religion. "Its goal is the full development of all children, from a Christian viewpoint, and it lobbies for the humanisation of their lives. It is especially concerned with the most deprived." (Statutes, Art. 3) Its employees must observe an agreed code of conduct.
A worldwide network
Catholic organisations working on behalf of children form a worldwide network. They are invited to join BICE, as are all organisations whether Christian or not that share its objectives.
BICE's financing is maintained with the greatest transparency by private donors, who guarantee its independence, and by public and private funding agencies. BICE is a member of the “Comité de la Charte du don en confiance” ( a French label that guarantees safe giving).