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At a glance: Philippines

Digital Diary: A youth anti-violence activist in the Philippines tells her story

© UNICEF/HQ06-1434/ Bito
Youth anti-violence activist Cora Buala (left) interviews a young girl who shares her drawing of an abusive situation she experienced at school.

By Blue Chevigny

The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children is a landmark effort to provide a detailed global picture of the nature, extent and causes of such violence and act to prevent it. The final report will be presented to the General Assembly on 11 October. Here is the fourth in a series of related stories.

NEW YORK, USA, 10 October 2006 – Cora Buala, a 19-year-old activist in the Philippines, spent several weeks using a MiniDisc recorder to document her thoughts and conversations on violence against children for UNICEF Radio.

Cora, who lives in the city of Roxas, became interested in ending violence against children while growing up in a squatters' camp. A non-governmental organization, the Christian Children’s Fund, helped Cora with basic nutrition, health care and education. Now she is a healthy young woman working diligently to end the scourge of violence she sees around her.

To that end, Cora travelled to New York in May 2006 as a participant in the United Nations Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children. She has also begun working at the Katin Aran Children’s Centre in Roxas, educating other young people about their rights.

© UNICEF/HQ06-1432/ Bito
Cora Buala used recording equipment to document her concerns about violence against children.

An end to violence

Cora’s radio journal  is the latest in the UNICEF Radio and Voices of Youth Digital Diaries Project, which allows young people with compelling stories to represent their own experience and produce their own radio diaries.

She starts off her Digital Diary by interviewing some younger children. At a local playground, she speaks to a nine-year-old girl named Lovely.

“Why is it important to know your rights?” Cora asks. “It is important to know my rights because it is the way of every Philippino child to have a peaceful community,” Lovely replies.

Later, Cora interviews a fellow advocate for children, Marlon, 19, who suffered violence at the hands of his father. She also shares a conversation about how domestic violence is perceived in the Philippines. Showing her creative side, Cora records herself and her friends singing ‘Child of Peace’, a song they wrote about the need for an end to violence.

‘We must work together’

Cora’s diary concludes with a statement about her hopes for the future.

“Dear world,” she says, “I would like to say we must work together, all the institutions, all the individuals, to eradicate violence against children. We, the young advocates, will work closely with you to attain this wonderful world free from violence.”

In keeping with that statement, Cora has returned to New York to attend a meeting of the UN General Assembly tomorrow and help present the findings of the Secretary-General’s global study on this issue.

“Even if it's just as simple as a shout or a hit of a stick,” she asserts, “it is still really violence.”











10 October 2006:
Cora Buala, 19, used recording equipment to create a Voices of Youth Digital Diary documenting her daily life and concerns about violence against children in the Philippines.
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10 October 2006:
Cora Buala of the Philippines talks about the experiences that led to her work as a child rights advocate.
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