Our country director in Paraguay highlights the value of a child’s voice
By Jorge Méndez Rheineck, country director, Paraguay
We’re so proud of Eliodoro (pictured in blue shirt). The 16-year-old Paraguayan is a great example of the power of a young person’s voice.
In July, the teen flew from Asunción, Paraguay to New York to represent his generation at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (Stay tuned to our blogs for a story from him). He addressed the audience with an important message:
“As a youth I commit to keep working in my community to prevent and end all forms of violence against children and adolescents…. I trust you, too, as world leaders, will do the same in favour of all children and adolescents of the world.”
The youth, who is active in our Child Friendly Accountability project, benefits from training in organizational, technical and leadership skills-building workshops to learn about his rights and the duty-bearers of those rights. Eliodoro, along with his peers, learn to dialogue with duty-bearers to influence them to fulfil those rights.
For example, the teen leads a local children’s committee that convinced their mayor to clean community drains, install street lighting and hold Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents meetings once a week in their community.
Look how far Eliodoro and his peers have come.
It’s why we at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) provide vulnerable communities with education and services — health, nutrition, sanitation and gender equity — which optimize learning to uphold deep and sustainable change in their lives.
But, we can’t forget that these critical services require context to make their biggest impact in the life of a child and his or her community.
For example, a parent’s demand for better education will be more effective if it involves their child’s voice. This way, the demand will grow stronger, and, more importantly, children will contribute to their own education and be motivated to change their future.
So, we make it a point to encourage children to speak up for themselves at community, national and international levels.
Children who develop and use their voices learn to organize themselves and influence decisions affecting their lives. We work with them to enhance their opportunities, helping them identify and understand their needs and contribute to finding solutions.
And, when they have access to building skills, other development services have a more significant, richer impact. For example, preventing violence at schools creates a better learning environment, and prevention is more effective when children take the lead in informing and training their peers.
We care about more than making immediate change in a child’s life; we foresee and promote profound, lasting change — deeply impacting the present and future lives of the child and their community.
We see a child as the voice of humanity shaping our future. Eliodoro is one example of that voice — speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves and helping us all envision a brighter future for humanity.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.