On World Children's Day 2020, UNICEF is partnering with young people around the globe to advance children's rights.
Meet the newest UNICEF Youth Advocates in Sudan: Enas, Makhtoum and Monzir. These are the new Sudanese faces of the universal rallying cry in support of children and their rights:
Advocating and speaking up for people with disabilities, by Enas Yousif
I feel the responsibility and pride in my role as UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate. I will continue to strive to support and advocate for the rights of deaf people in my community and reflect their issues, and those of people with disabilities to highlight that we can participate in the community.
I will work to support, raise community awareness and encourage people with disabilities to speak up and participate, know their rights, demand them, and help each other to realize our rights.
My vision for a reimagined Sudan is where we all have equal rights, and there is no discrimination.
My goal is to also support every woman with a disability to know that she is important and that she can be whatever she wants.
It’s Important to hear the voices of youth, and especially young people with disabilities because they are the future.
Sudan Must Be Developed by Us, by Makhtoum Abdalla
It's an honor for me to be a UNICEF Sudan Youth Advocate because I've been dreaming of being a Youth Advocate to offer cool and motivational advice that can help young people accomplish their dreams. This will absolutely support the development of Sudan.
The youth are the most important group in society, and there can be no development without developing the youth first. That's why we must give the youth their rights in education besides involving them in social activities. It is well known that education is an indispensable method in any development. Through education we can do whatever we want, we can be on top of the world because we are the future generation and our Sudan must be developed by us.
Young people in Sudan are full of skills and talents, if society helped them bring that out then they would make positive changes. The youth must know that education is the most powerful tool they can utilize to positively change the universe - and giving up isn't one of our habits.
There is no doubt that everybody has their own story that distinguishes them from others. My story is inspiring. I live in a camp for internally displaced people and refugees. There is countless crisis, problems and sufferings from many things; social, health and even financially. However, I didn't stop dreaming big or seeking a way towards accomplishment and I found a great way - it's studying hard. So, I started and was successful because I determined my aims first with self-confidence and my deep belief that nothing will change unless you change.
A nice thing happened in 2018, when I was in Grade Eight. It began as a year full of frustration and disappointment, followed by studying hard at night when others were sleeping and praying. The result was inconceivable! I ranked fourth in the whole state. It was like a marvel and because of it, I motivated my friends and I told them that nothing is impossible and that your desire and working hard will make every impossibility possible.
A passionate young man creating a greener, healthier and protected planet, by Monzir Mohammed, Hadeel Agab Ashi
Each day, while trying to get to school, 18-year-old Monzir Mohammed, and his friends used to suffer while waiting for transport in Damazine in Blue Nile State, Sudan. One day, he thought of building his own vehicle to drive him and his peers to school as a solution. This is how the inspiration began, and his dream came true; he built an environmentally friendly vehicle!
The car quickly attracted the attention of many local industrial companies and they are currently looking for ways of collaboration with Monzir and his “Future Generations” organization.
“Challenges can be the first gate to creativity and innovation” said Monzir. “Solar energy Is important to help us protect the environment from air pollution. Supporting solar power projects will increase youth innovation and creativity and will provide more job opportunities for youth.”
The young climate and environmental activist founded Future Generations with a group of like-minded and passionate youth with a collective goal to positively change their country and future. Monzir and his team are from internally displaced and conflict-affected communities. However, his vision for what he and others like him can accomplish, knows no bounds.
UNICEF Sudan selected Monzir to be its Youth Advocate for climate and innovation, alongside other youth advocates focusing on various areas such as education, child rights, people with disabilities and girl’s empowerment.
Future Generations started its journey with the first solar-powered car in Sudan, made locally with local materials. Noticing the positive impact, they were inspired to create more innovative solutions to help prevent the spread of covid-19. In addition, they manufactured a solar-powered motorcycle for people with a handicap and made soaps from Riyhan (Sudanese lavender) plants that are found in almost every Sudanese house.
UNICEF and partners provide adolescents like Monzir with skills training: not just technical skills, but also important soft skills: tolerance, teamwork, creativity and confidence. Moreover, youth groups like Future Generations give young people not only a platform to practice and develop their skills, but also a space to share ideas and discuss the challenges they face and possible solutions to these hurdles.
“As UNICEF Youth Advocate, I will take the responsibility to support youth and advocate for their rights. This role is important to help us get the best out of them. Youth have the right to speak up, be leaders in their communities, participate and find solutions for the issues they’re facing in their lives,” said Monzir.
“Our main goal is to end harmful practices to ensure a healthier environment for all of us and come up with new innovations that the next generations can benefit from” said Monzir.
When Monzir was asked about his future plans and what his first decision would be if he were to become Prime, his passion for calling for developing and investing in young people was evident.
“If I were Prime Minister, the first decision I will make is to establish training centers for youth and adolescents to train them on creative skills, as I believe this would help to improve the economy of Sudan.” He said. “I will also select Sudanese youth aged between 18-20 years and send them to developed countries, to gain knowledge and be trained on various skills, and when they come back they will contribute to local industry and will also train other Sudanese youth.”