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Tereza’s story: I want to be a pilot

© UNICEF-NYHQ/2009/Kavanagh
Youth journalist Tereza Kitale, 17, in attendance at the radio workshop sponsored by UNICEF Radio, Southern Sudan Radio and UNICEF's Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition Programme.

In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – a landmark international agreement on the basic human rights of all children – UNICEF is featuring a series of stories about progress made and challenges that remain. Here is one of those stories.

JUBA, Southern Sudan, 21 August 2009 – When Tereza Kitale looks up at the sky over the town of Juba, Southern Sudan, she sees her future.

"I want to become a pilot," she says.  "But here in Southern Sudan it's very difficult to find a female who has become a pilot."

The 17-year-old student at Juba Day School hopes to change that.

Juba radio workshop

In June, Tereza was one of the participants in a week-long radio production workshop for 10 young people from Juba. UNICEF Radio – in partnership with UNICEF's ‘Back on Track’ programme on Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition, the UNICEF Southern Sudan Area Programme and Southern Sudan Radio – conducted the workshop with five boys and five girls chosen from local schools.

The young people learned how to record, edit, write and produce a radio report of their own.

Interview with a female pilot

For her story, Tereza interviewed Justine Takoki, a Kenyan female pilot based in Juba for the World Food Programme.

Ms. Takoki said that a major obstacle for women pilots is that the profession is dominated by men. "For a woman to come in and start flying, it was very difficult," she said.

"My advice to Sudanese girls is to follow their passion – and if they really want to become a pilot they should follow their passion and dreams and realize them and work very hard at it," she told Tereza.

Ms. Takoki said that Tereza reminded her of when she was in high school and she met a female pilot – the only female captain in Kenya – who became an inspiration to her.  “And I went and talked to her – just like you're doing – and she encouraged me and showed me exactly what I needed to do."

© UNICEF-NYHQ/2009/Kavanagh
Tereza Kitale interviewing Kenyan female pilot for the World Food Program, Justine Takoki, who is based in Juba.

"I wish to do the same thing as Ms. Takoki," Tereza said. "And I wish to fly with her one day."

Tereza's report was produced to commemorate the Day of the African Child on 16 June.

Youth perspectives

UNICEF Radio and the Back on Track programme will conduct a series of similar workshops in other countries in the coming months. Their aim: to bring young people's perspectives into the debate around education in emergencies and post-crisis situations and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the CRC.

Meanwhile, UNICEF's Southern Sudan Area Programme is working with Southern Sudan Radio to involve the new youth journalists in its programmes, empowering young people by giving them the chance to broadcast their voices throughout the region.




June 2009: 17-year-old student in Juba, Tereza Kitale, talks about her dream of becoming a pilot.
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