50 newly appointed UNICEF Young Envoys champion children’s rights in China, Hong Kong and Indonesia this summer


50 newly appointed UNICEF Young Envoys champion children’s rights in China, Hong Kong and Indonesia this summer

HONG KONG, 9 JUNE 2013 —Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) appreciates 50 youth’s enthusiasm and infinite creativity for championing children’s rights, and appointed them as UNICEF Young Envoys today. The newly appointed Young Envoys will further promote children’s rights by paying field visits to Indonesia and Yunnan in July, followed by organising a public advocacy event in August, to voice out for the inclusion of local single parent families and their children.

Over the past six months, UNICEF HK laid a sound foundation for these 50 promising secondary school students by providing more than 10 intensive workshops. They learnt about children’s rights and the state of the world’s children, as well as an empathy with those in need. From March to May this year, the youths took the initiative to organise various school fundraising and advocacy activities to support children affected in global crisis and issues, exemplifying the spirit of ‘kids helping kids’.

They organised talks, leadership training camp, game booths at schools, to draw their peers’ attention to the situation and needs of children in developing countries. Over HK$11,000 were raised to support emergency relief and long term intervention for UNICEF, such as relief work for Sichuan Ya’an earthquake, combating child labour, etc.

An estimated 150 million children aged from 5 to 14 years are engaged in child labour globally. In developing countries, one in six children aged from 5 to 14 years old is involved in child labour and deprived of the rights they deserved.

Young Envoys from seven secondary schools, including Marymount Secondary School, Diocesan Boys’ School, St. Mark’s School, thus co-organised an inter-school day camp to raise their peer’s awareness towards this issue. The day camp tried to demonstrate the severe situation of child labour – a “garbage mountain” piled up by waste paper; participants were asked to experience the lives of child labour being slaved and exploited: non-stop making paper bags, delivering bricks and buckets for very limited earnings– an ‘exchange’ of children’s rights to protect themselves from sudden “natural and manmade disasters”.

Soon after the earthquake occurred in Ya’an, Sichuan, William Chan, a secondary five student of Ho Fung College demonstrated the true spirit of mutual help. He held a fundraising booth at school playground every day before the morning assembly, to share the needs of quake-affected people and how UNICEF is helping, including all the essential interventions in environmental and personal hygiene. He also set up a “wishing tree” and asked his peers to leave blessings as support. The activity was widely supported by teachers and students and raised HK$2,000 for UNICEF’s relief work.
During the UNICEF Young Envoys Programme 2013 Appointment Ceremony, Miss Au King Chi, Council Member of UNICEF HK made a speech: “It has been 17 years since Young Envoys Programme’s establishment in 1996. Young Envoys earnestly show their concern about Hong Kong children’s issues, and their full devotion to children in need can be seen in all the school talks, leadership training camp, activity booths they organised. They are contributing, and spreading the positive energy into our society.” She also appreciated the full support from principals, teachers and parents, so that Young Envoys were encouraged to organise various activities to promote children’s rights in their spare time.
Fifty Young Envoys worked together to compose their theme song and produce, write and star in a musical drama, to express their dreams in the appointment ceremony. They sent the blessings to all the children living in severe conditions, “When you feel sad and depressed, keep remember those good days, and believe in your dreams.” In the kick off session, UNICEF HK Council Member Miss Au and other guests put back the children’s smile on the “giant puzzle”, to imply children can smile again, with the united support from UNICEF Young Envoys and the society.
To further promote children’s rights with their mandate, the newly appointed UNICEF Young Envoys will visit Indonesia and Yunnan in July to witness the living conditions of children, especially orphans, and women, and get the first hand experience of UNICEF’s work in developing countries. Upon their return, they will hold a public advocacy event in August, based on the territory-wide survey they have conducted on the topic of teenagers’ view towards single-parent families. They dream of a society that care and include children of single-parent family with no discrimination, and believe such a society will be an ever child-friendly city.

UNICEF Young Envoys Programme is a distinctive youth leadership scheme established in 1996, aiming to arouse public concern for child rights and the state of children worldwide through empowering a promising group of young people and nurturing them as child rights advocates. The 10-month programme explores students’ potential, broadens their horizons and enhances personal development. In almost two decades, UNICEF HK has nurtured over 900 secondary students from more than 120 schools to become Young Envoys, and promote children’s rights to over 30,000 secondary students. Young Envoys have visited different places such as the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and Gansu, Qinghai and Shaanxi in China.

The UNICEF Young Envoys Programme 2013’s major sponsor:

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