World Children’s Day
A chance to reimagine Cambodia
Has there ever been greater global uncertainty than at this moment? Every nation is grappling with complex and unanswered questions around COVID-19 and its long-term social and economic consequences. Then there are the challenges that predate the pandemic, from global inequalities to the environment. Imagine being a child facing all of this. It would be understandable if they felt hopeless or helpless. Yet most do not. Inspiringly, they still find joy in play, sport, friendship or creativity, while striving to reimagine the future and create a better world for themselves and others.
For this World Children’s Day, we wanted to hear these children’s voices and amplify them for the world to hear. The stories below are the result of five days of interviews, condensed into individual testimonies in the children’s own words. We met children of different ages, backgrounds and locations across Cambodia. They didn’t need to be the best in their class or have the most compelling life stories, as long as they wanted to share their ideas for what the future should be. We didn’t know what we would learn, which makes it all the more remarkable that their stories turned out to be so diverse and extraordinary. Some had experienced loss at a young age or faced daily challenges such as disability or poverty, while others faced less obvious challenges, but all had ideas for how they could make the world better. They wanted to make people safer, improve education, fight viruses, protect the environment, save lives, increase happiness, and more.
It is an honour to meet these young people so early in their journeys. We know that some of their hopes will shift and adapt as they move forward through life, and that the road will not always be easy for them, but we are also sure that the world will be much better if these children fulfill their potential. Today, we at UNICEF renew our pledge to do all we can to help these children’s hopes become realities. We hope that after reading these stories you will also make this pledge. Start with those children closest to you. Listen to them and their ambitions for the future. Try to provide them with the advice and encouragement they need to take the next step forward. Let’s reimagine the world, together.