World Children’s Day: Children call on President Alvi

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UNICEF appoints first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan on World Children’s Day
ISLAMABAD
In connection with World Children’s Day, a delegation of children representing four provinces, as well as, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, nominated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called on President Dr Arif Alvi, at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
The delegation was led by UNICEF’s first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan, sixteen-year-old, Ms. Taqwa Ahmad. The children highlighted various issues and challenges being faced by them, besides discussing their hopes and expectations for the future.
Talking to children, the President said that Pakistan was committed to taking steps for the rights and well-being of children. He said that measures were being taken to equip children with education, skills and training.
He stated that children with disabilities needed to be provided inclusive education in regular schools to make them part of mainstream of society, besides equipping them with skillsets to help them find employment in the market.
The children asked various questions about climate change, girls’ education, children with disabilities, and other challenges being faced by them. The children also shared their experiences and called for taking steps to provide them a conducive environment to grow and flourish in life. Later, the children also attended a hearing, held by the President, in a case related to the banking sector.
Meanwhile, Activist, author and motivational speaker Taqwa Ahmad, 16, has been appointed as UNICEF’s first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan. Hailing from Gujranwala, Punjab, Taqwa is a champion for peace, inclusivity, disability rights and education. The appointment – announced on World Children’s Day – encourages children to raise their voices and become changemakers for child rights.
“I am humbled and excited to become a UNICEF Youth Advocate. My goal is to amplify the voices of young people, champion their rights and empower others. I envisage a future where every child in Pakistan can access high-quality education and healthcare, so they can flourish in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment,” says Taqwa Ahmad.
In her role as UNICEF Youth Advocate, Taqwa will use her platform to shine a spotlight on child rights and issues affecting youth. Recently, Taqwa and five other child representatives met with the President of Pakistan, H.E. Dr. Arif Alvi to discuss their key concerns for children as part of a UNICEF World Children’s Day initiative.
The delegation represented children from different age groups and backgrounds from all provinces and regions of Pakistan. Together, they highlighted climate change, inclusive education, and gender equality as critical issues requiring urgent action from leaders, decision makers and the whole of society to safeguard their futures.
Children in Pakistan face a multitude of challenges. They are on the frontlines of climate change, threatened by increasingly destructive extreme weather events including floods, droughts and heatwaves.
Over 22 million children remain out of school, depriving them of vital opportunities to learn, earn and grow. High rates of malnutrition and poverty threaten children’s survival and well-being. Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.
“Taqwa inspires us not only with her powerful words, but through her actions and her incredible personal story – overcoming the challenges of a spinal condition, becoming a karate champion despite needing a wheelchair – providing a beacon of hope to children, especially girls everywhere. We are honoured for her to become our first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.
UNICEF will continue to work with young people, activists and advocates to support the next generation of changemakers to build a more inclusive and equitable Pakistan, where the rights of all children are protected and upheld, and their true potential is recognized to secure a better future for all.