Raising our strong voice

By Sewmini, aged 16, and Shamindu, aged 13, Young Leaders from World Vision Sri Lanka

We are Swenimi and Shamindu, two young leaders from Sri Lanka who came to Sweden to participate in the Solutions Summit. We were there representing children from around the world and bringing their views to this important meeting, so people from government and United Nations can listen to us.

The main reason we were at the Solutions Summit was to raise the voices of children regarding violence against children as this is a problem that affects millions of children worldwide.  For example, in Sri Lanka, there are many traditional practices that allow parents and teachers to use violence against children. This is the reason why this summit is very important for children, because we want to raise awareness about this issue and we want to find solutions to end it.

We believe that children are the people who know the best about children, so we need to be in the centre of the discussion about violence and together with adults we can find solutions. We believe that we are agents of change and we have knowledge that is beneficial to these types of conferences. For instance, we have conducted a research in our community on violence against children to learn more about this problems and to advocate its end. This research and many workshops we have attended, gave us the knowledge and experience we want to share with others.

The Summit was also an excellent opportunity to learn. One of the purposes of going was to learn more about violence, its causes and consequences. We also came here to share our learnings, so others can also be aware how children’s actions can help to stop violence.

The best experience in the Summit was to be able to share knowledge with my fellow child delegates, who came from many countries, and to exchange our learnings so that we can replicate the same actions in our countries. As the Summit was around solutions rather problems, we were able to discuss more about solutions and ideas to stop violence effectively.

With the Summit finished, we would like to ask the authorities in the Solutions Summit: what will be the mechanisms that the Global Partnership will put in place to ensure that countries like Sri Lanka will stop violence against children? Back to Sri Lanka we want to organise more campaigns to call the public attention to violence and raise our strong voice together to stop it.

About the Authors

Sewmini, aged 16, and Shamindu, aged 13, are representatives of the Children’s Societies in their rural communities. They are particularly interested in addressing the issue of violence against children and trying to find solutions to this problem so children can enjoy their childhood.  They are active members of the World Vision Young Leaders project, which is a global programme that aims to empower and provide spaces and opportunities for young leaders to stand against violence towards children and promote social changes in their communities.

My fairy-tale, their horror story

A wedding day that could have been so different. Temwa from Malawi has just married the man of her dreams – but other girls from her home face a very different idea of ‘bride.’

Why I joined the It Takes A World campaign: A youth advocate’s story

Youth advocates like 19-year-old biochemistry student Asini have been working with us to help end violence against children.

How modern slavery is destroying childhoods

World Vision UK's Erica Hall on the crisis of children who are forced into horrifying exploitation.

The overwhelming joy of meeting the girl I have sponsored for a decade

Angela Farries travelled with children’s charity World Vision to Tanzania in November 2018