I never thought that I could make a difference in the world.
Being a Super Junior had been fun and exciting, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to use this influence and popularity for something more – a higher cause.
And that’s when I was approached by UNICEF to team up and use my platform for children’s rights - an opportunity I jumped on immediately!
I joined the UNICEF team as I believe all children have the right to survive, thrive, and live to their full potential.
The Korean wave that swept the world started from Asia. So as a Super Junior, my fans in Malaysia have become my base. You have allowed my message to spread around the world.
Visiting Malaysia as a UNICEF Special Representative is an opportunity to give back.
I have visited Malaysia many times before with my group. But visiting Malaysia in August 2018 was different. I was here to participate in UNICEF’s Youth Talk with students from all over Malaysia. It was a townhall with students from all over the country on how we can make schools a safe place to learn.
I heard about Nhaveen before I came to Malaysia – how he was cruelly bullied and beaten by other boys from school. We cannot let this happen to another child. The violence must stop. It is an urgent issue. Every child needs to know they are safe when they go to school, to learn, to play, to grow.
I was amazed to hear what students were already doing and the brilliant ideas they had on how to stop bullying.
The big theme which emerged is that students wanted to fight violence with kindness. They didn’t ask for more punishment. They were calling for an end to violence through kindness. That is revolutionary. That is making a difference.
The first #StandTogether National Kindness Week campaign in April 2018 reached 950 schools, with 130 student projects. It is student-led and sponsored by the government and private sector companies – everyone chipping in to do their part. And it can only grow. Malaysia will soon be flooded with kindness.
In 2019, #StandTogether has grown bigger – reaching more than 2,000 teachers, 4,100 students and counting. I will be back to see for myself what the students have achieved in just one year!
But it does not end here. As long as there are children, they need to be safe – in school, at home, in their community.
Have I changed anything? Have I done anything? No, not by myself. I see now that by myself, I cannot do anything.
But together we can. It is the students collectively making their voice heard, asking for change. All we do at UNICEF, is lend them guidance and amplify their voices.
We can all be Superheros for Children. Standing together to make a difference in their own world.
Let’s keep it on and on and on!