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Young people in Laos raise their voices on International Youth Day

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.

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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