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Budding leaders

CCFC’s Jim Carrie visits children’s groups where members are encouraged to advocate for positive change

By Jim Carrie, VP of Global Operations

Adults often lobby for positive change, so it’s easy to forget children have a voice, too. I was reminded of the power of those small — but mighty — voices on a recent trip to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada program areas in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua.

I visited a meeting of a network representing 1,800 children and youth, between the ages of four and 18. This passionate group participates in community activities and interest groups based on drawing, sports, theatre, dance and the environment. Aside from building their social and development skills, they’re learning to lead, and some are even lobbying the government for their rights. Fifty-five percent of these rising leaders and special-interest advocates are female.

Their stories are inspiring. There’s 14-year-old Raquel who is coordinating efforts to keep her neighbourhood clean; 15-year-old Kenneth who’s lobbying the municipal government for a safe, clean children’s playground; and 14-year-old Digema who was invited to participate in UN sessions in New York last year, advocating for child protection to be included in the global agenda.

Speaking to the 12 youth at the meeting I attended, I shared with them how impressed I was with their motivation to work hard on behalf of their rights. It was truly inspirational to hear how their hopes and dreams have become accomplishments. We’re proud to be encouraging youth to take control of their future and lead their own change. Bravo.