The power to make change

Child Health Now is proud to share the stories of Ilda and Nour, two young girls who despite the challenges are raising their voices and working to better their communities in Albania and Lebanon by promoting child’s rights, participation and gender equality. In their own words, “Both girls and boys need to influence the world. If girls don’t participate, something big will be missing.”

Ilda, 18 years old, Albania

Ilda is promoting child rights in her home Albania, as part of the World Vision Peer Educator’s for Child’s Rights group. “Being a part of the peer educators group has been life changing. At the start it wasn’t easy to be an advocate for child rights. In my village, I was the first to do such things. Adults were not supportive; they wouldn’t even show up to meetings. But two years after starting the project, we finally had a meeting with more than 50 parents. Slowly they started to support our work.

Two years ago, myself and colleagues from the group wrote the Child Rights Convent Alternative Report. I was selected by the group to represent them in front of the United Nations. In March 2011, I presented our report to the Child Rights Convention Monitoring Council. It was an honour to represent my peers in front of decision makers that can change the reality of children, in and outside Albania. The members of the committee not only listened to our report, but they also asked questions about the writing of the report, the different topics in the report and the life of Albanian children. It was exciting to feel that we, peer educators, were being listened to and making our first big step to change our lives and those of our friends.”

Nour, 14 years old, Lebanon

Nour is promoting the voices of children and youth in Lebanon, in the Post-2015 United Nations Agenda, as an elected Board Member on the World Vision Lebanon Children’s Council.

“I come from a small village in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Being part of the Children’s Council has empowered me to help other children. I feel more confident, as I have more public speaking skills and I understand the problems facing my society. While I know I can make change, it took a while to gain the respect of my community. As a girl, my community doubted my ability to make a difference.

Last September, myself and the other board members attended The World Youth Want regional conference in Turkey. During the conference we discussed new goals for the post-2015 agenda with youth representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany and Palestine. This meeting motivated the Children’s Council to make change for our country. With the members of the Children’s Council, we discussed the main problems that we are facing in our country. We then wrote a letter to HMQ Rania al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, as the representative of the Middle East in the High-Level Panel for the Post- 2015 Agenda. We wanted our voices to be heard in the United Nations process.”

“We have had the courage to voice our opinions and represent our peers because we were encouraged to do so. We have hope for a better world and for gender equality in our countries. As we grow up to be strong women with strong voices, we hope to make a difference. Girls deserve to be listened to and we have something important to say. Give us the power to make change.”

Ilda, 18, Albania
Nour, 14, Lebanon

* Original article posted in Girls Right's Gazette (October 11, 2013). You can read the article HERE.