"Children4Change" encourages us to give children a fair hearing, to celebrate their optimism and courage, and to listen to their concerns and solutions for issues that affect them.
KUALA LUMPUR, 5 November 2012 – Under the banner of Children4Change, UNICEF Malaysia, together with several child-focused NGOs in Malaysia, is celebrating every child's right to participation. Under the initiative, the month of November is dedicated to honour, celebrate and recognise the important role children can play in our societies today.
“The best possible spokespeople for children are children themselves,“ said Ms. Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF representative to Malaysia. “They are powerful advocates and they are really worth listening to. Child participation is engagement in its truest form. When children are given an honest chance to speak and a platform to be listened to, they are the most eloquent, passionate speakers on issues that affect their daily lives.”
At the heart of child participation is Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which upholds every child’s right to be heard.
Speaking at the launch of the Children4Change initiative, Ms. Belmonte stressed that children who participate in society make a difference in the world around them. Through their ideas, experience and insights, children are able to enrich the understanding of adults and make a constructive contribution to the world around them.
“Children who are silenced cannot challenge violence and abuse when they are subjected to it. Their capacity to learn is restricted without the chance to question, challenge and debate. Policy-makers cannot identify the barriers to fulfilling children’s rights if they do not hear from children about the existence and nature of those barriers,” she added.
Malaysian children making history, setting milestones and making a difference
For the first time ever, children in Malaysia are compiling a Children’s Report, supplementing the official Government report, to the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Committee monitors and reports on implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by governments that have ratified the CRC. The Children’s Report is being compiled through workshops across the country and by way of an online survey.
Other activities and events are in the spotlight through the Children4Change initiative, highlighting the creative and inspiring ways that children are organising themselves and inviting other children (and adults) to join them.
Various activities and events will be held in November to offer something for everyone, including: a children's musical theatre with gamelan music for the family; an arts and crafts showcase by autistic children, a forum for children to discuss child protection issues that they are most concerned about, a fun carnival with Malaysia’s most popular twins, Upin & Ipin, and a tweetchat that will bring children and adults together in the Twittersphere.
UNICEF Malaysia has created a Facebook application especially for Children4Change. The application titled “Be the Change”, serves as a fun creative space for children (and adults!) to contribute their ideas on creating a world fit for children.
“Adults have an important role when it comes to child participation. Authentic and meaningful participation requires us to continue to seek out and listen to the perspectives and opinions of children, treat them seriously and support them as they develop their skills. In so doing, they not only contribute to their own lives, but to their communities as well, as active citizens developing their skills, confidence and capacity for democratic participation during childhood, with lifelong benefits,” added Ms. Belmonte.
(For more information on the Children4Change initiative as well as its related events, activities and highlights, visit UNICEF’s website at www.unicef.my/children4change and be a friend of UNICEF Malaysia via Facebook.)..............................................................................................
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9157
+6012 292 6872
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9154 ext. 2236
+6012 658 5160