Every day, this group of 9 inspiring leaders advocate to include children in decision-making processes, to raise awareness about climate change, or to make sure people with disabilities are included in sports.
On November 20th, they marked World Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by taking the stage of the United Nations headquarters in New York City, in front of international delegates and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors.
Get to know them and share their stories on social media using the hashtag #WorldChildrensDay so other youth feel inspired to take action too!
Nickar, 15-year-old, Laos
Who is she? Panyphorn, or Nickar, is a youth advocate for education and the environment in Laos. She is also a promoter of Lao culture, and has worked with UNICEF and her country’s government to promote children participation in decision making processes.
How is she making a difference? In 2019 Nickar played a very active role during a national consultation with young people, brainstorming and sharing ideas about children’s needs for 2030.
In Laos, the space and platforms for children to have their voices heard are limited, and the consultations carried out throughout the year were designed to change this reality and give children and youth the opportunity to discuss the challenges they face, opportunities for further development and solutions to improve their lives.
In her own words: “Education is the mother of success. Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
How can I know more? Nicka is very active on social media and has a YouTube channel where she vlogs about her travel, school life, books and language learning tips.
Dante, 11-year-old, Chile
Who is he? Dante is a nature lover from Chile, a country that is highly vulnerable to climate change. Since the age of four, he showed interest in the many insects and small animals he encountered during his long hikes with his father in the vast Chilean national parks and the Andean mountain range.
How is he making a difference? He decided he wanted to share his findings with other children, starting in 2014 his Youtube channel named ‘Bichología’ (literally ´bug-ology´), garnering thousands of subscribers and more than a million views. Dante has also participated in other spaces to expand his conservation message, including educational programs for children and news outlets.
In his own words: "In order to care for nature, we must know and learn about it."
How can I know more? On his YouTube channel, Bichología, and his website www.bichologia.com
Nanse, 13-year-old, Syria
Who is she? Nanse is a 13-year-old refugee from Syria living in the US. She and her family left Syria when she was very young, and after living in Jordan for 5 years they were resettled in the US.
How is she making a difference? She was part of NJRebuild, a programme which focuses on integrating refugees in New Jersey.
In her own words: “My current goal is to be the voice of the voiceless children living through tough times. My goal for the future is to help as many children as I can in order to let them go through life as children should.”
How can I know more? You can find out more about the NJRebuild programme here.
Hans, 14-year-old, Côte d’Ivoire
Who is he? 14-year-old Hans from Soubré, in Côte d’Ivoire, is a young radio reporter and an active member of his schools’ health club, that organizes events on issues like HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, and sanitation.
How is he making a difference? Hans got involved in health club to help his peers be healthy so that they can perform well in class. Hans is also a young radio reporter, producing weekly radio broadcasts in 10 radio stations in Côte d'Ivoire and make their voices heard by more than 1.9 million listeners.
In his own words: “I hope that children and youth have the opportunity to have their voices heard directly by decision makers on all issues concerning them on public health services, through open discussions in communities, hospitals and schools.”
How can I know more? Interested in journalism, like Hans? You can visit Voices of Youth to know more about creating content about the issues you care about, and learn how to become a UNICEF’s U-reporter.
Volodymyr, 16-year-old, Ukraine
Who is he? 16-year-old Volodymyr, from Ukraine, lost his hearing ability due to an early childhood trauma. Volodymyr felt isolated, unable to communicate freely with children and adults outside of his specialized educational institution and decided to promote sign language more widely in his hometown.
How is he making a difference? Together with his friends, Volodymyr developed a unique technology that teaches children how to use a dactyl [manual] alphabet to talk to non-hearing people. They produced a special “interactive alphabet” - a set of wooden cubes, where each letter is represented by a hand gesture and objects that have the letter in their name.
In his own words: “My friends and I have long dreamed of breaking this barrier, this wall of misunderstanding and alienation between the society and the people who cannot hear.”
How can I know more? Volodymyr was able to install his information boards in Kharkiv public spaces, and promoted it through advertising in Kharkiv Metro. Learn more about his story here.
Amira, 13-year-old, Cameroon
Who is she? Amira is a student in Garoua, northern Cameroon, who dreams of becoming a pediatrician. She advocates in her community to ensure all children have a birth certificate.
How is she making a difference? Through door-to-door advocacy and meetings with her commune’s administrative authorities, as well as through radio programmes in her local media, she explains how the rights of children are not met and demands for their rights to be respected.
In her own words: “We have rights, we want to exist, so all children are no longer on the menu of discussions, but around the table to discuss issues that concern them.”
How can I know more? You can find out more about what UNICEF is doing in Cameroon, here.
Jane, 11-year-old, North Macedonia
Who is he? Jane is a passionate advocate for every child’s right to participate in sport, living in North Macedonia. He uses a wheelchair, having been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). He plays football whenever he gets the chance, and he is often the first on the pitch.
How is he making a difference? By playing football everywhere! He has been part of UNICEF disability campaigns in North Macedonia and a speaker at a high-level conference in Skopje.
In his own words: "I have a muscular disease, which means I can't walk. But I don't let anyone joke about the issues I have with walking. I want to tell the whole world that everyone is equal and that people with disabilities can do the same things everyone else can. And even if they can’t, that doesn't mean they can’t enjoy their lives."
Amila, 16-year-old, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Who is she? Amila is an active member of the newly established youth association TRIK, part of the child and youth-led movement Vrijedni paznje (Invisible No More). TRIK engages children and young people in implementing workshops and community campaigns, networking and collaborating with other youth groups.
How is she making a difference? Amila mentors her peers about online violence and child protection, prevention of violence to children, stigma awareness, supporting vulnerable and marginalized groups and the importance of schooling. Amila has been involved in campaigns in her community, such as the Pink Shirt Day and Children’s Week, aimed at ending peer violence and neglect to children.
In her own words: “When I joined the local extra-curricular programmes, I realized I was slowly regaining my voice. Only knowledge helped me gain confidence, step up and fight for my rights and I want this for the other children.”
How can I know more? Find out more about how UNICEF works with youth and children in Bosnia And Herzegovina.
Jade, 13-year-old, United States
Who is she? Born to Nigerian and Jamaican parents, Jade was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is an eager student who enjoys learning, passionate about children's health and education.
How is she making a difference? She spent a year engaging with the UN on issues surrounding education inequalities around the world, as part of the New York City Junior Ambassadors program- a youth initiative led by the Mayor's Office for International Affairs. She also participated in a local project to demonstrate how New Yorkers are committed to quality education locally. She often explores her activism around the arts, writing and production.
In her own words: “We have a very loud voice and a lot of ideas, so it’s very important for us to fight for children’s rights. The smallest things definitely count.”
How can I know more? You can find more about the New York City Junior Ambassadors programme at nyc.gov/nycja.