Real lives




Child protection

Early childhood




Teens speak!

Women's voices

Photo essays


My planet earth

Malaysian Shanelle Alayna, 9 years old with her little 7-year old brother
© Courtesy Julianna Lim Abdullah
Aspiring Malaysian poet and novelist Shanelle Alayna (9) with her brother Shane Iskandar (7).

The ability to read and write is a fundamental right of every child. When children are literate, they are able to share their views, hopes and aspirations, not just for themselves, but also for their peers and the world they live in. In celebration of International Literacy Day 2008, UNICEF is proud to share the words and hopes of 9-year old Malaysian Shanelle Alayna.

GEORGETOWN Penang, September 2008 - “I am Shanelle. I am 9+. My hobby is watching television. My favorite past time is to surf the net and writing poems. I am trying to make another poem and also writing my first novel. My hope for the world is for everyone to breastfeed their babies. I hope there is no war. I hope for no crimes. I hope no animals will be extinct. I hope that infant formula products will be extinct. I hope the world will be a cleaner place.”

My Planet Earth

Filled with nature and beauty
Green leaves to produce air
With flowers surrounding us everywhere.

Sadly the war is coming through
People living in horror
People killing each other
People dying from all the terror.

Hopefully the wars will not destroy our planet
We feel terrible for all the deaths
Especially when innocent babies and children are killed
We feel the suffering for those who had their countries destroyed.

Future technology is coming now
For some they think technology is great
But what we really need is a greater balance
Between technology and preserving the environment.

Some animals are going extinct
Like turtles, tigers and pandas too
Let us help the world’s citizens to think
And learn to be responsible for it is their world too.

It is my home with beauty beyond compare
It is not too late for us to act and do our share
To leave behind for our children, a world
with all its wonder, glory and splendor.





International Literacy Day 2008

     8 September 2008

Education in a human right - Resources

  • Need for education
  • Legal frameworks
  • Action ideas


  • Literacy & education
  • UNICEF program

 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children