Child marriages, cyber bullying, online schooling and COVID-19 were some of the key issues that teens from World Vision communities in Asia, South Africa, Europe and North America talked about during the Summer Shoutout event, a virtual forum for young leaders, held last August 29 via Zoom.
The virtual forum is part of World Vision’s global advocacy campaign called “It Takes A World” that aims to call on key government, organizations, and private sectors to take action on violence happening against children.
“Over 1 billion children are affected by violence every year. And COVID-19 is putting a further 85 million at risk. Our It Takes a World campaign is uniting us all in action to end this injustice,” the Summer Shoutout official website (wvi.org/summer-shoutout) stated.
Child speaker Alamgir from Bangladesh, expressed how online education has affected children’s education in his hometown. “Children are being digitally discriminated from information and technology.”
Another child speaker from Ghana, Sarafina, said “If our female children are given out for marriage to men who are old enough to be their fathers, it will go a long way to affect the girl child, her community, the nation and the world at large.”
Teo, a child from Romania, is alarmed that while online education is important it may exposed children to identity theft and cyber bullying.
A child participant from North Cebu, Jessie Lou, shared that she was saddened to hear how COVID-19 exacerbates cases of abuses against children. “It pains me to know that many of [the children] are suffering from different kinds of abuses, and the effects of COVID-19 are not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.”
Despite the disheartening situation, Jessie Lou said that people must continue doing good even in their own little steps and continue relying on Jesus. “Amidst all the chaos and uncertainties in life, there is a God who promised us through His words, to take good care of us if we only put our trust in Him, as our future is in His hands.”
The Summer Shoutout was hosted by Patricio Cuevas-Parra, World Vision’s Child Participation and Rights Director. (L. Carillo)