Young girls making change
Ketsia, Joyce and Choisie campaign for the respect of children's rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In response to the challenges faced by young girls in their community, Ketsia, Joyce and Choisie decided to defend and promote their rights. After being introduced to children's rights and basic journalism techniques, the three Child Reporters have made awareness raising and advocacy their main weapons.
When she was younger, Ketsia always felt inferior to the other children. She attended school together with the children of leading figures of the country who bragged about their possessions whereas she didn't have any. "All my complexes fall away when I advocate for children's rights," says Ketsia, who is now 16 years old and proud to serve as a role model for other girls. "Girls from my school have approached me asking me to teach them their rights and how to defend them in order to make them stronger," Ketsia concludes.
UNICEF encourages the empowerment of young girls and is committed to making their lives safer. Every year on the 11th of October, International Girls' Day, UNICEF launches an annual campaign to give girls the opportunity to make their voices heard and to mobilize for their rights.
Having been a victim of cyber-bullying, Joyce, 16 years old, decided to take action to warn children and alert the authorities of the country. "There are some girls who commit suicide because of this kind of thing," she says sadly. “Our authorities are not always aware of what is happening on the internet and as I do know, I wanted to make this plea to urge them to take action.”
All children in the world must be protected from violence, abuse and discrimination. Cyber-bullying is a form of violence that particularly affects children and can leave significant after-effects such as anxiety, loneliness and loss of trust.
"I wanted things to change," recalls Choisie looking back to the day when she realized that all girls have rights and that she could help defend them. "I started raising awareness in my own family and then I expanded my outreach in order to benefit the other children in my neighbourhood.”
Thanks to her efforts, Choisie is proud to have made a positive change in her community. Across the Democratic Republic of Congo, young people are mobilizing for positive social change, including gender equality, in their communities.
Every girl and woman must be able to enjoy all her rights, such as leading a life free of violence, going to and completing school, choosing when and with whom to marry and receiving the same income for the same work.