Peruvian youth meet with Canadian Senators and make their voices heard
Student leaders shared their stories and concerns about issues that affect them
LIMA, 6 September 2018.– Peruvian youth made their voices heard at a meeting with a delegation from the Senate of Canada at UNICEF’s office in Lima today. Nine members of the Consultative Council of Children and Adolescents of Carabayllo, a district in Lima, spoke with the Honourable George Furey, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, and Senators Marc Gold, Jim Munson and Donald Plett. Nandy Córdova, the Mayor of Carabayllo, and Olga Isaza, Representative a.i. of UNICEF in Peru, were also present.
Optimism in the face of challenges
At the meeting, the student leaders shared the realities of life in Carabayllo. Almost a quarter of the population lives in poverty, just 15.5 per cent of students in the second grade of high school meet national standards in reading, and children and adolescents make up 60.8 per cent of cases of violence reported at the Women’s Emergency Centre.
Jannina, 16 years old, highlighted the discrimination that youth, like her, with disabilities face. “Life is very difficult for the most excluded,” she said.
“There are lots of social and economic problems in my district but the most important thing is that there are children and adolescents who want to make things better,” said Manuel, 16 years old.
Speaker Furey was struck not only by the challenges the youth face, but also their optimism and enthusiasm. “If you are – I’m sure you are – representative of the young people of Peru, the world is going to hear a lot about the young people of Peru.”
Making adolescents a priority
While in Peru, the senators will also meet with President Martin Vizcarra and members of Congress. Olga Isaza highlighted the importance of UNICEF’s partnership with Canada and invited the delegation of senators to “be ambassadors for the voice of adolescents to help ensure youth are at the top of the agenda in Peru and Canada.”
UNICEF and the Government of Canada are currently partnering on the multi-year project “Education and Rights for Marginalized Adolescents in Peru”. The project – made possible by a CA$19.8 million contribution from the Government of Canada – aims to ensure that adolescents, especially girls in rural areas, marginalized urban areas and living in poverty, are recognized as rights holders and have access to education that enables them to build their own future as autonomous, productive and democratic citizens.
Not an expense, but an investment
The District Municipality of Carabayllo, with technical assistance from UNICEF, supports youth participation initiatives like the youth advisory council to build citizenship among adolescents. Students on the council listen to their peers, share their concerns with local authorities and propose solutions.
Mayor Córdova emphasized the local government’s commitment to promoting adolescent participation. “For us,” she said, “adolescents are not an expense, but an investment.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/peru.