I advocate to put smiles on the faces of children

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Joshua conducts an advocacy session.

People work for money, fame, higher education, big positions, and other aspirations, but I will rather earn 100 million smiles everywhere I go. This is because when people realize you are the only one recognizing their situation and giving them a helping hand, they become happy and more courageous.

Over the years, children especially girls, have been abused in various ways and no one seemed to be talking about it in my society.

For that reason, as a young boy, I decided to start the journey of change.

I am a youth advocate, a gender activist, a leader, and an influencer. Child marriage, teenage pregnancy, gender inequality, discrimination against girls and people with disabilities are serious issues that require attention. I decided to take the lead to make a difference in terms of advocacy for the benefit of my dear young ones.

The most painful thing in life is seeing what you hate, happen to the people around you.

The most painful thing in life is seeing what you hate, happen to the people around you. I cried when I saw three of my classmates pregnant during the Basic Education Certificate Examination and two of my siblings getting pregnant as teenagers. This prevented them from furthering their education.

I live in a district (Upper Manya Krobo) where teenage pregnancy, child marriage, child abuse and inequality against girls are rampant. I decided to make a difference by working with community leaders to save four girls from early marriage. Two of them have currently completed Senior High School and the remaining are yet to get back to school.

I know and believe that it is not about your fame, higher education, position, and riches. What matters is the number of people that smile immediately when they hear your name.

When community leaders and other stakeholders try to make a change, people will also change. Therefore, I go to communities to educate them on the need to change from dated assumptions and to help children.

For nine years now, as part of my advocacy work, I have been doing budget advocacy in my district for the greater allocation of funds for children and people with disabilities and to also help them get access to equal rights including education, through a group called the Youth Budget Advocacy Group of Upper Manya (Y-BAGUM).

For me, I know and believe that it is not about your fame, higher education, position, and riches. What matters is the number of people that smile immediately when they hear your name.

About me: I am 24 years old and I come from Upper Manya Krobo district n Ghana. I am from a poor home of no hope - I almost always went to school on an empty stomach, my community has no lights, roads and many people do not believe in education. I, however, believe in equality and I always want to put a smile on the face of mankind, especially children, for them to stand firm when it comes to their rights because every child deserves to smile.

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