The prominent youth of Akkar
The youth are the future. Empowering them means empowering and creating future leaders capable of handling the hard situations that they might face.
In Akkar, World Vision is paving the way for the youth of the area so they become more involved in their communities by establishing a youth committee. Elie and Dina are two of 25 members of this committee.
Elie who is 19, is a university student and elected by his friends to be their representative in the adult Child Protection committee, also collaborating with World Vision, “it was great to experience this process, voting and waiting for the results”, he says. Through child protection and advocacy training, Elie and his friends became more knowledgeable and understanding of the concerning problems that are occurring in the area. He declares, “Now, I have another perspective when seeing a child working, I am thinking about the many reasons why he is doing this”. Therefore, as their initiative with the Child Protection committee, they chose Child Labour as a topic. According to Elie, seeing a child working should not be normal, “the plan is to raise awareness on this topic, child labour is very common in Akkar (North Lebanon), and we want stakeholders to help us”.
Elie and his friends are very aware of the raising number of school dropouts as well. “Child labour is one of the main reasons why parents are removing their children from school. They want them to work and help with their income. People we know are doing this. Our neighbours”, he states.
For Dina, 19, being a previous sponsored child with World Vision fueled her enthusiasm to join the youth committee, “I learned since I was little about rights of the children, and I want to help other children understand that”, Dina says.
Advocating for child rights is the priority of the committee, especially within this economic crisis where many children are deprived of their basic needs. “We are preparing for an initiative, awareness sessions for children and caregivers on the importance and precautions from child labour and the wellbeing of children”, she reveals.
Besides the advocacy training, the youth committee members are acquiring skills that they believe are helping them with their daily lives. Moreover, Elie and Dina are scout members and engage in many volunteering projects in the area, and thanks to the new skills that they obtained with World Vision, they feel more confident during their civic engagement duties.