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At ChildFund Australia, we love hearing from the young people about what inspires them. We recently spoke to six young girls in Laos that took part in the ‘Child Life Skills Empowerment Project’ about what makes them proud. Here’s what they had to say:

Moukdavone, 13-years-old

“The right to learn is a basic child right that enables us to feel as if we have a purpose in life. Making a difference and being great starts with learning. I am proud to be a girl. Girls can do many things like boys even though we are not as strong as boys, but I am proud to be a girl who can do everything by myself and do some work that men can’t do.”

Moukdavone, 13-years-old in Laos.

Maikeo, 13-years-old

“I am proud to be a girl, even though girls are given less possibilities than men. I am bold enough to take the initiative and accomplish things on my own.”

Kitty, 11-years-old

“I’ve been learning guitar on my own since I was 11 years old. I learned it from YouTube videos, and I want to continue learning as much as possible. In the future, I want to be a famous musician. My pride in myself is that I dared to perform the music in front of everyone, and I am very thankful ChildFund for giving me the opportunity.”

Manyta, 15-years-old

“It is critical that adults protect the child right to leisure, play, and culture for all of us as a collective. I am proud to be born a woman and proud of myself to be able to do many things without fear of any obstacles. In my opinion, both male and female have equal rights.”

Mee, 14-years-old

“There are so many different ways to learn about the world around us, and I personally find reading books to be a very enjoyable way to learn about it. As a girl, I am proud of myself for being brave enough to speak up and capable of relying on myself in a variety of situations, and I am happy to be born as a girl.”

Moungming, 16-years-old

“Literacy and creativity are equally crucial. Drawing is one of my favorite ways to help me improve my memory and reduce stress. As a young girl, I am proud of myself for participating in all social activities and daring to express myself in many ways.”

The Child Life Skills Empowerment Project exists to improve life skills for children and young people. It builds their capacity to support their peers and empowers them with the confidence to lead positive change in the school and communities. This project was implemented in 100 schools, including 60 in the Vientiane Capital, 20 in the Xiengkhouang Province and 20 in the Huaphanh Province. It is run in partnership with The National Commission for Advancement of Women, Mother and Children.

It is through partnerships and projects that we raise the voices of the children and young people we work with. Learn more about ChildFund’s work in Laos.

Children and young people have the right to have a voice in what their future looks like. This International Youth Day, 12 August, young people from across Laos, came together to advocate on the issues that impact them the most.

“The conference was a safe space to speak out, an opportunity to show our abilities, and for leaders to be open-minded and respect in us are the things that the youth want in our society these days,” said Kou Thongkham Vue, a ChildFund in Laos youth volunteer.

From the 12th – 14th of August, ChildFund in Laos partnered with the Lao Youth Union, UNFPA and other partners to organise the Celebration of International Youth Day 2022 Conference. This was a safe space for young people to come together and talk about the issues they feel passionately about. They contributed on topics like reproductive health and climate change.

Young people are on the forefront of change and innovation. They are the future of our society and through these types of events, they are striving to create a better world for themselves and future generations.

Kou said: “Youth participation is very important to me because it will strengthen today’s youth to become more capable of self-development, learn various life skills, develop a positive attitude, and demonstrate our creativity.”

One panel discussion brought together young people from across organisations and associations to share their thoughts about how they want to see a safer world for themselves, their families, and those around them. They spoke about how they want opportunities to express their abilities in whatever field they choose, without fear or discrimination. They also talked about how they want an open mind towards other cultures and people.

“I want to be a part of a Children’s forum where youth can discuss and voice their thoughts on how to solve the challenges we are now experiencing, such as limiting young chances and excluding LGBTQ+ individuals from society,” said Khamkik, a ChildFund in Laos youth volunteer.

Young people have a right to feel safe in their homes, schools, and communities without fear of being judged, bullied, or excluded because their socioeconomic background or any other factor.

Khamkik said: “Gender diversity is a beautiful thing and always sought after. If we compare it to food, it is a food with a variety of flavours and a menu that is charming. Gender is the same. Therefore, do not discriminate, hate, and do not choose to treat us differently.”

By working together as a community, young people can lead the way in building a culture of tolerance and advocate for a healthier future. Learn more about ChildFund in Laos.