Giving Singapore Voice at the ASEAN Children’s Forum
Three of Singapore Children's Society’s youth beneficiaries carried Singapore’s voice to the 4th ASEAN Children’s Forum this year. They were among 40 child delegates from nine ASEAN member states at the event, which was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, from 19 to 24 June.
The bi-annual event, this time organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, was themed ‘One ASEAN, One Vision for Children’. Discussions centred around four issues impacting youth in the region: violence against children, online child protection, child trafficking and climate change.
Representatives of Project CABIN, Ng Wen Xuan, 16, and Ivan Yap, 14, as well as VOX @ Singapore Children’s Society member Jazznita Harith, 13, discussed how each issue impacted Singapore’s youth and put forward their ideas on how the ASEAN community could promote and protect the rights of children and youth.
After hearing from all delegates, the group devised ways to address the issues brought forward and made their recommendations to the country representatives of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), and other international stakeholders.
For Wen Xuan, it was a chance to learn how to communicate and build bridges across borders. “We forged strong bonds with the country representatives, mentors, officers, ambassadors and many more leaders,” he said.
Young people have a meaningful contribution to make to these conversations, added Ivan. “We got the chance to speak to the ASEAN leaders and managed to come up with ideas that could prevent some of the problems youth face, or on what we could do to solve them.”