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Cambodian girl with her arms crossed in a full classroom.

World Children’s Day 2022

Children are empowered through child sponsorship.

World Children’s Day (20 November) was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day to promote and celebrate children’s rights, and improve children’s welfare. 

Children are finding their voices 

Around the world, children are raising their voices to create a better future. Think about the inspiring stories of young people like Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Boyan Slat and William Kamkwamba. 

We were excited to hear about the Child and Youth Pavillion at COP27, providing a space for children to share their ideas for the first time at the United Nations climate change summit.  

But World Vision hopes to see more opportunities for children to speak out on issues that matter to them... 

Here are five stories of children who learnt the power of using their voice through World Vision’s Sponsorship Programme. 

1. Justice from Uganda 

“We are using a children’s parliament to highlight the issues affecting children emotionally, physically and mentally,” explains Justice. 

Ugandan boy standing up to speak in a classroom
Justice, 15, is speaking about issues at a children's parliament in Uganda

15-year-old Justice dreams of becoming a lawyer. He’s already fighting for change as a passionate member of a children’s parliament, which was set up by World Vision’s Sponsorship Programme to enable children to make positive changes in their community. 

And that’s exactly what it’s achieving.  

Already the children’s parliament has successfully campaigned for laws to protect children from exploitation and harm. The parliament was also the driving force behind the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill to be passed by the national parliament last year. 

Now, Justice has set his sights on reducing teenage pregnancy, which skyrocketed during Covid when schools were closed in Uganda. 

“Children should be in school studying, not getting pregnant,” he says.  

2. Phally from Cambodia 

"I wanted to become a leader so other children know about their rights, and I want them to know about my story and show them that I can do anything,” says Phally. 

Cambodian girl with her arms crossed in a full classroom.
Phally, 18, is helping children feel more confident and empowered

18-year-old Phally grew up living in extreme poverty and suffering from health issues. In her community, violence against children is common. 

But with her sponsor’s support, she learned how to protect herself from violence and harm, and other life skills like self-confidence and public speaking. 

Now she is a leader in a youth club, teaching others about child protection. She is using her voice to help every child in her community to feel confident and empowered. 

“When I finish school, I want to see the other children become the next generation of leaders,” she says. 

READ MORE: Young leaders discuss global education 

3. Savina from Albania 

"Women and girls must be heard and included in decision-making. We are equal only on paper, not in daily life,” says Savina. “We want to raise awareness on gender equality, and make women discover their potential and not be afraid.” 

Albanian teenage girl crossing her arms in front of bookshelves
Sabrina, 17, is advocating for gender equality

17-year-old Savina was shy and introverted until she joined the World Vision Youth Impact group in her community. In the youth group, she’s learning new communication skills and growing in confidence. Savina has become a powerful voice in her community, promoting a better world for children. 

Savina and her group are advocating for gender equality and other inclusion issues through their school. They’ve launched a children’s rights initiative and are currently working on an internet safety campaign. 

“Our initiatives aim at helping the community but benefit us all. We must use our potential to improve our town,” says Savina. 

4. Isaac from Nicaragua 

“I wanted to see changes in my community. There was a lot of rubbish in the streets. It looked very ugly and was unhealthy for my community,” describes Isaac. 

Boy from Nicaragua wearing a dark blue T-shirt sitting on a chair.
Isaac, 16, is teaching his community how to keep the streets clean

When World Vision started a Healthy Family, School and Community (FECSA) programme, Isaac was eager to get involved because he wanted to see change in his community. 

There were piles of rubbish on most roadsides, attracting mosquitos which are a malaria threat to children.  

16-year-old Isaac volunteered to become a hygiene officer and signed up for classes to learn more about personal hygiene, water purification and rubbish treatment. Now he’s leading community clean-ups and teaching families to clean up too. The results are incredible – a cleaner, safer environment. 

Isaac says, “We learned that the glass bottles should be buried so they don't become mosquito breeding sites and the plastic ones should be reused as much as possible. The programme has been very important for our community!”  

Read Isaac’s story 

5. Lavanya from India 

"Through karate I have become stronger and more confident. Even in school, I do not allow people to bully others or me. They know that they shouldn’t trouble me,” says Lavanya. 

Indian girl wearing a white karate robe tightening her yellow belt.
Lavanya, 14, is tackling the issues that affect girls in her community

14-year-old Lavanya watched boys training in karate, but, like many other girls in her community, she never dreamed she’d have the chance to try it herself. But when World Vision started a children’s group in her community, Lavanya saw a whole new world of opportunities. 

“Slowly I made more friends and started to learn so many things. I can proudly say that the biggest change in me is my confidence,” she says.  

From karate to personal hygiene, the rights of children and protection, Lavanya and her community are exploring lots of new ideas through the children’s group that they are now sharing them with others. 

Lavanya says she has learned to see the issues that affect her community with new eyes – as problems that can be solved. Now, she is raising her voice with other children in her community to tackle them, one by one. 

Together, we’re empowering children 

We are celebrating World Children's Day to show children that their rights and their voices have value. 

We have been working for over 70 years to support the wellbeing and the rights of children around the world and empowering children to stand up on behalf of themselves. We teach them about their rights when it comes to child marriage, child soldiers, child labour, violence and abuse, so they can build a brighter and safer future. 

When you sponsor a child through World Vision, you are helping them learn about their rights.  

Children like, Justice, Phally, Savina, Isaac and Lavanya who are advocating for change in their community. 

Sign up to emails to hear more about our work and how you can support children across the world. 

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