This World Children's Day, UNICEF appointed its newest and youngest Goodwill Ambassador, British actress Millie Bobby Brown. She is joined by stars and leaders in entertainment, government, sport and business who are rallying for children in support of their rights. In addition to these high profile advocates, countries around the world are appointing UNICEF Youth Ambassadors and collaborating with Youth Advocates.
China: Wang Yuan (Roy Wang), 18
Singer, UNICEF China Ambassador
UNICEF Ambassador Wang Yuan, also known as Roy, is a well-known singer and actor. He is a member of the Chinese pop band TFBOYS.
In January 2016, Wang Yuan released his first single, “Cause of You”, which reached the Top 10 of the Asia Billboard chart for new songs. In the same year, he was awarded Most Popular New Talent in the Ninth City Super Chart. He has starred in many movies and television shows, and was awarded the Popular Star at the Weibo Movie Awards Ceremony.
In January 2017, Wang Yuan spoke at the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Youth Forum in New York as a representative of the United Nations Imagine 2030 Campaign. In his speech, he spoke about quality education as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. He was the first Chinese artist to attend the UN Youth Forum by invitation, as well as the first Chinese teen idol to take the international stage in the UN.
First as UNICEF Special Advocate for Education, and since 20 November 2018 as UNICEF Ambassador, Wang Yuan is devoted to promoting the rights of children in a range of issues, including quality education, empowerment of adolescents, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). With a huge social media following, Wang Yuan has been actively supporting UNICEF’s digital campaigns, such as World Children’s Day and Future +Me.
“Social and emotional learning teaches children key skills such as how to get along well with others, how to work as a team and how to be creative. I think this is as important as knowledge from a textbook and prepares children for a future in 21st century,” he says.
India: Hima Das, 18
Athlete, UNICEF India Ambassador
Hima is an Indian sprint runner who currently holds the Indian national record in 400 metres with a time of 50.79 s that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She was the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
Hima’s father is a rice farmer in Dhing village in the state of Assam. Growing up, their village didn’t have a track, so she trained in the field where her father worked and on muddy football grounds.
Her coach, Nipon Das, first spotted her talent during an inter-district meet in 2016. She only took up serious racing last year because of an utter lack of facilities and training equipment. Despite this, Hima became the first Indian to win gold in a track event at the global level, and the first Indian woman to medal in a global track event. Hima was recently awarded the Arjuna Award by India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to recognize outstanding achievement in sports.
Afghanistan: Hinna Asefi Wardak, 15
Television presenter, UNICEF Afghanistan Ambassador
Fifteen-year-old Hinna is a ninth-grade student in Kabul, Afghanistan. She has worked as a part-time presenter for Shamshad TV for the past eight years, hosting her own programme called ‘Hinna’. Each week she interviews a key political figure on issues affecting the wellbeing of children. Hinna is fluent in English, Hindi, Dari and Pashto.
Hinna is a supporter of the Afghanistan National Youth and Adolescent Network, which is a key mechanism for sharing information from the field level to national level and then up to the Global Youth Council and vice-versa. Earlier this year, she was nominated to represent Afghanistan at the Global Youth Network (GYN).
She was a co-presenter at UNICEF Afghanistan’s World Children’s Day Activate Talk last November. In her spare time, she loves listening to music and watching movies, both Bollywood and Hollywood.
See Hinna interviewing a member of the Afghan parliament here.
Bhutan: Sonam Wangchen, 16
Singer, songwriter and musician, UNICEF Bhutan Ambassador
Sonam Wangchen is one of Bhutan’s youngest and most popular singers. Born in February 2002, he is currently studying in 11th grade. He sings mostly in Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language.
His 2015 song, "choe thom da", was a super-hit, propelling him into the limelight. Since then, Sonam has written numerous hits, performed at national events and charitable concerts, and worked on original soundtracks for movies.
Sonam is beloved by Bhutan’s younger population. He takes every opportunity to encourage children and teens to study, believe in themselves and follow their dreams. In his role as UNICEF Youth Ambassador, Sonam will use his singing, his popularity, and his large social media following to engage with young people and empower them to speak about the issues they face.
“As UNICEF Youth Ambassador, I really want to work together with young people, especially on issues we believe are important to us. Growing up online for example,” said Sonam. “Worldwide, 71% of us are online and I want this digital world to be a safer place for all of us.”
Venezuela: El Sistema
The National Children's Orchestra of Venezuela, renewed as UNICEF Venezuela Ambassadors
El Sistema Nacional de Orquestas y Coros Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela is a social and cultural programme. It was founded in 1975 by the Venezuelan musician José Antonio Abreu to use music as a tool for social organization and human development.
There are approximately 1 million children and young people who are part of El Sistema, making up 1,681 orchestras, 166 Alma Llanera (traditional music) groups, 1,389 choirs and 1,983 intro to music groups. 75% of the children and young people involved in El Sistema live under the poverty line and in remote areas.
El Sistema Nacional de Orquestas y Coros Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela has been a UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador since 2004. The group has participated in numerous activities to promote children’s rights through the music, including events with José Antonio Abreu, concerts to celebrate the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and UNICEF anniversary celebrations.
Jordan: Emanne Beasha, 10
Singer and advocate
UNICEF Jordan Child Rights Champion, 10-year old Emanne Beasha, was the winner of the 2017 season of the pan-regional Arabs Got Talent.
Emanne showed a passion for singing from a young age and started singing – from opera songs to Frank Sinatra – when she was just 6 years old. At the age of 7, she was chosen from 23 contenders to sing the American National Anthem in a stadium of 7,000 spectators at a Major League Baseball game in Florida.
She learned to sing from her mother and by watching YouTube videos. She is currently seeking professional vocal coaching and musical training. In addition to singing, Emanne enjoys playing tennis and spending time with animals.
Emanne is personally interested in creating safe environments for children, and actively participates in UNICEF’s End Violence Against Children campaigns in Jordan.
Jordan: Joud Mbaideen, 14
Author and advocate
UNICEF Jordan Child Rights Champion, 14-year-old Joud Mbaideen, is the youngest Arab novelist. She has already published two books in Arabic; “Al Tahaddi Yaliqo Bik: Challenge Suits You” and “Jarh El Yasmeen: Jasmine Wound”. In 2017, she received the King Abdullah II Medal of Merit in recognition of her achievements.
Inspired by her father, Joud launched an initiative to encourage reading, under the motto: “A book at the threshold of every door”.
She advocates for children’s right to education both through public speaking and through her social media channels. Joud has four younger siblings: two brothers and two sisters. Her parents are civil servants.
Bangladesh: Raba Khan, 19
Social media influencer and YouTuber
Raba Khan, 19, is a multi-platform entertainer, performing primarily in the fields of comedy and music. Raba burst into the internet comedic scene of Bangladesh in 2014 with YouTube channel named “The Jhakanaka Project” and developed her Jhakanaka Raba brand on social media. Since then she has branched into television and radio shows, garnering over 850K followers across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Raba is passionate about children’s rights, saying, “We are responsible for our future. I believe only the youth can make positive changes the world needs and expects. In order to continue to make this change, we need to protect children and ensure that every child is safe from violence.”
You can watch her unique take on comedy and music videos on:
Côte d'Ivoire: Kherann Yao, 23
Kherann is an avid U-Reporter, student and founder of Association Environnementale/Green-Ivory, a group that works to protect, preserve and enhance the environment in Côte d'Ivoire.
In March 2017, Kherann set up a Facebook group called ''Les environnementalistes de Côte d'Ivoire'' to raise awareness about issues and actions affecting the environment. His initiative quickly drew interest from more and more young people, who now take part in the cleaning activities he organizes. Kherann then decided to better structure his initiative by founding Green Ivory.
Kherann works closely with children and regularly organizes awareness-raising workshops in primary schools. He founded the Green Schools project to train the eco-citizens of tomorrow. The long-term goal of the project is to use environmental clubs in public primary schools to lead a national ecological transition. The pilot phase is currently being deployed in three primary schools in Abidjan.
Côte d'Ivoire: Detty Dione Datto, 24
Vlogger, make-up artist and disabilities advocate
Detty Dione Datto is a professional make-up artist and vlogger.
Disabled since birth, Detty advocates and fights every day for disabled children to have rights and a future. Detty launched a digital campaign "zero complex" to raise awareness in her community about the challenges faced by people with disabilities. "I want to help disabled and vulnerable children because I was once there too," she says.
Detty has initiated several social actions and fundraising campaigns for non-governmental organizations dedicated to helping children with disabilities.
Côte d'Ivoire: Tchonté Silué, 24
Blogger and education advocate
Tchonté Silué is passionate about reading, writing, education and travel. She is the founder of Centre Eulis, an educational space that introduces young Ivorians to the world through books, outings and educational workshops.
Tchonté has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta, and a master's degree in Social Entrepreneurship, from Hult International Business School in San Francisco. During her Master's program, she discovered a passion for education, and just after graduating in 2016, she returned to teach at her former university in Grand-Bassam.
In April 2017, Tchonté opened the Eulis Centre to share her passion for reading and create a space where young people can continue to learn new things. In September 2017, she won the prize for the best Ivorian blogger at the E-voirblog awards with her blog "Les chroniques de Tchonté". Centre Eulis was recognized at the Adicom Awards in March 2018. Since September 2018, Tchonté has been working as a kindergarten teacher at the International Bilingual Schools of Africa (IBS).
Serbia: Biljana Stojković, 14
Vlogger and influencer
Biljana Stojković, also known as ICML (“I Create My Life”) on social media, is a 14-year-old vlogger and influencer in the Balkan region. She is known for her motivational speeches about improving self-esteem and taking a positive outlook on life, an attitude she embraced after having her left leg amputated during cancer treatment.
Through her videos on YouTube, Instagram and in the media, Biljana stresses that each of us is the creator of our own life and that there are only two things we can control: our attitude and our efforts. Through her vlog and social media channels, she calls on the people to create a positive change.
“I decided to join UNICEF as a Youth Advocate since I feel that this role will give me a platform to teach children that although it sometimes seems like the world is a dark place, or that there might be darkness within ourselves, it does not mean that we cannot make a change.”
“We all have the right to make choices and we all should change what we consider to be bad without endangering others with our actions. I want to tell children that we should expect help from people, but that we ourselves should also offer help to others. Even though everybody is different, we must share at least one similar principle: Make progress and give others the same opportunity."
Turkey: Cedi Osman, 23
Professional basketball player
Cedi Osman is a Turkish professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Cedi started playing basketball at an early age and was discovered by the Anadolu Efes scouts when he was 13. He has played on teams that won the Turkish Cup, the Turkish Super Cup and the Turkish Presidential Cup. He also represented the Turkish National Team, playing on two gold medal-winning Turkish teams that won the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in 2013 and the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship in 2014. Cedi was the MVP of the 2014 tournament.
Also known as "The First Cedi", inspired by the fame of Star Wars and his outstanding performance, he has earned a devoted following among his superstar teammates, fans and NBA experts.
As a young children’s rights advocate, Cedi believes that every child should have the right to education. He is determined to work with children with a focus on education, as he believes education is hope, education is a better future.
Mozambique: Deasy Helena Muzima, 22
Deasy Helena Muzima is a 22-year-old Mozambican youth leader. She is the President of AIESEC Mozambique, the world’s largest non-profit run for youths by youths. She is chair of the Global AIESEC Assembly and Expansion Committee where she is responsible for finances, strategic orientation, partnership management, project management, implementation and evaluation. She also oversees training and coaching for young people.
Deasy is an articulate and outspoken advocate for youth rights, and has been invited to speak on young entrepreneurship and young leadership in several national conferences. On World Children’s Day, Deasy was appointed as a Youth Advocate for Gender Equality.