Today, I'd like to share with you an unforgettable experience I recently had as a social activist, which at first seemed like it would be scary but turned out to be one of the best and most empowering ones I've ever had!.
As part of the Children's Day celebrations and following the activities foreseen in the Youth Advocates Action Plan in Mozambique. My colleagues and I had the opportunity to visit children who live in areas of armed conflict, specifically in Palma, in the north of the Province of Cabo Delgado. We aimed to gather sensitivities and experiences, concerns and help with possible solutions together with children and young people from the above mentioned Regions!
That journey sparked a deep understanding in me about the power of human resilience and the ability to find hope even in the darkest of times. Allow me to take you on a journey through the inspiring stories I've witnessed.
Upon entering communities affected by armed conflict, my first impression was the heartbreaking reality these children face on a daily basis. Debris, destroyed houses and indelible marks of violence seemed to be the permanent scenery of their lives. However, as I interacted with them, their responses surprised me. Instead of despair, I saw in these children's eyes a spark of hope that transcends any adversity.
Behind their emotional expressions, there were emotional feelings, but also incredible inner strength. Listening to their experiences made me realize how powerful storytelling is for healing and transformation. Listening to their voices, their pain and their aspirations, we guarantee our commitment to fight for a fairer world, where no child has to face the horrors of war.
Despite visible and invisible scars, I have witnessed a powerful sense of community and solidarity in these areas isolated by conflict. And something interesting about that was realizing that PALMA IS A PLACE OF PEACE AND RECONSTRUCTION!
Local projects and humanitarian organizations such as Unicef and Street Child are doing remarkable work to provide support and opportunities for children living in these extreme conditions. Education, access to health care and psychosocial support programs are just some of the initiatives that are helping to shape a brighter future for these children.
By sharing these stories, my goal is to spark empathy and inspire action. We cannot turn our backs on these children facing such difficult circumstances. We have a responsibility to be agents of change, joining our efforts to ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. This can be done through supporting local organizations, donations, advocacy and, above all, ensuring these stories are not forgotten.
I couldn't end without thanking UNICEF Mozambique for the opportunity given to me, the other colleagues and children and especially for giving a voice and space to young people in Mozambique so that they can share their ideas, opinions and dreams!
Together we can make the difference.
Omaguilé Mulugu, muthu Canttaphula!
(What God has bound, no one undoes)
With love and gratitude,
Abel Correia Voabil
Youth Advocate UNICEF-MOZAMBIQUE