A Platform of Opportunity
Lao children and youth clubs urge for their voices to be heard.
By Sankerdas Latthanhot, Communications Manager for Save the Children in Laos
“I can do it if the grown-ups cooperate,” all participating children and youth members demanded through their drawing in a Youth Camp during March 28-30th, 2015.
At the end of March, the Child Protection Programme with support from Child Rights Governance, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Education teams of Save the Children in Laos sponsored and collaborated with youth members from various provinces to conduct the first-ever cross-thematic activity focusing on topics ranging from child safeguarding to youth’s views on Save the Children’s policy through participatory methods such as theatre drama performance, poster creation, creative games, and so on. This activity built on earlier youth camps organized by Child Protection Programme.
Child and youth participants from Xayaboury province, Bolikhamxay province, Luangprabang province, and Vientiane Capital attended and co-led all the activities. Several development partners and stakeholders such as Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, UNICEF, and National Commission for Mothers and Children also attended the event.
This youth camp aimed at enhancing capacity of youth-led groups in order to raise awareness on child participation, child rights, and child protection issues in their respective communities.
As shown in the photo above, participating children voiced strongly on several aspects. One girl voiced, through writing on the cardboard, “I know, and I am capable. Please listen to me.” Another boy voiced for blind children, “Even if I have blind eyes, my mind is not blind.” What is more, another child club girl member emphasized on collaboration among children, youth and adults when she wrote, “I create, you brainstorm; I innovate, you develop.”
A twenty-two-year-old youth volunteer Vanhnasone also emphasized that this event was crucial to creating a friendly space for children to develop themselves. She said, “[the event] enabled children to be more confident in front of adults. It is also a platform of opportunity to voice for themselves.”
Save the Children in Laos has been working with local and international development partners to ensure that all children are able to exercise their right to participate, to develop, to survive, and to be protected.