Children as Changemakers at the European Humanitarian Forum

Omega Dada, World Vision Young Leader, at the EHF
Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Omega Dada is a refugee student from South Sudan, who knows all too well how humanitarian crises devastate children and young people.

To push for action and build a better future for children in crisis, Omega brought his first-hand experience and urgent calls to action to the highest levels of humanitarian decision making. Last month, Omega was able to participate at the European Humanitarian Forum, organised by the European Union (EU). The forum provided a platform for discussions, political debates and practical workshops, where innovative approaches were proposed to tackle urgent humanitarian challenges.

Omega came to the forum from the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in Uganda, where he attends school as part of a World Vision Project funded by EU Humanitarian Aid. Drawing on his experiences as a refugee accessing education in the midst of displacement and hunger and balancing the desire to attend school with the need to feed his family, Omega came to Brussels to make powerful interventions at both the European Humanitarian Forum and the opening segment of the Education in Emergencies Conference.

Through compelling testimony and interventions on topics of child protection, education and hunger, Omega demonstrated the power of participation and brought to light the importance of education for children in crisis. He outlined exactly how the international community can better support children by advocating that funding for education, which provides an indispensable lifeline, should not be diverted.

As displacement and conflict continue to increase, it's more important than ever to put the voices and experiences of children affected by crisis at the forefront of humanitarian efforts. This is a fundamental component of World Vision's mission and is at the core of World Vision EU Representation’s engagement with the European Union. Omega's message resonated strongly because he spoke passionately from first-hand experience of the issues that we, as an international community, seek to address. He was able to connect humanitarian policy to lived experience.

Omega's message reminds us that children are changemakers, and essential players in building a better future for everyone. Participation promotes their protection, psychosocial well-being and resilience, and by placing children at the forefront of our humanitarian efforts, we can create a more sustainable and equitable world.