Singer Marvi joins UNICEF Timor-Leste as Youth Advocate

07 May 2019
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Soares

DILI, 07 May 2019 –  Famous singer and 2018 winner of The Voice Portugal, Maria Vitória da Costa Borges (Marvi), has been announced as the first Youth Advocate for UNICEF Timor-Leste.  Known as "Marvi", the 18 years old singer has come together with UNICEF to promote youth voices and raise awareness of issues affecting children. Marvi and Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste, signed an agreement to formalise the appointment, which also marked the 30 years celebration of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

"I'm proud to be a UNICEF Youth Advocate and a voice for the young people of Timor-Leste," said Marvi after signing the agreement. "Young people represent nearly half of my country's population - and represent our future. I'm looking forward to working with UNICEF, meeting with children and young people, learning their stories and raising their voice."

This is the first time the UNICEF Timor-Leste country office has engaged a Youth Advocate. Marvi joins a global, growing list of well-known and highly respected personalities from various fields including sports, music, the performing arts and film, among many others, who play an important advocacy role in support of UNICEF's work globally.

"I'm delighted to welcome Marvi as our Youth Advocate. I'm confident that she will act as a champion of youth voices in this country," said Valérie Taton, welcoming Marvi into the UNICEF family. "In her role as UNICEF's Youth Advocate I believe Marvi will use her passion to promote awareness of the issues that children are facing in Timor-Leste and will advocate for the rights of young people."  

Marvi will volunteer her time as a Youth Advocate with UNICEF for one year from May 2019 to May 2020. She will work to raise awareness of issues affecting the lives of children and young people, including access to quality education, safe learning spaces, child health, and the challenges and opportunities for young people, across various platforms.

Marvi has been passionate about singing from an early age – at the age of three, she joined a singing competition organised by UNICEF in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps set up during the 2006 crisis. The competition was part of a suite of activities organised by UNICEF to provide psychosocial support to the children living in the camps. Her journey as a singer has since continued, with Marvi participating in many singing competitions at both the national and international level and winning several prestigious awards. 

The signing ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries including Manuel Carceres da Costa, the Minister of Justice, Mericio Juvinal dos Reis Akara, the Secretary of State for Social Communication, Roy Trivedi, Resident Coordinator, United Nations and Parliament Members and the Chairman of Commission F and C of the National Parliament, Maria Barreto and Albina Marçal Freitas, and the Ambassador of Japan and USA. 

Following the signing event, Marvi and Valérie Taton attended an open discussion with young people followed by a cultural programme with performances by children alongside Marvi.

For more information, please contact:
Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries)
Phone: +670-77232441 Email:
Arifa S. Sharmin, Communication Specialist, Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste
Phone: +670-77231103 Email: (English queries)

Media Contacts

Rukshan Ratnam

Communication Specialist (English)

UNICEF Timor-Leste

Tel: +67077231103

Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820

Antonio Gomes

Communication Officer (Tetum)

UNICEF Timor-Leste

Tel: +670 7723 2441

Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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