Child activists from South Asia bringing a change (Representational Image) Photograph: (WION)
You don’t have to be an adult to right a wrong.
The world is full of examples of kids fighting for the rights of others. And that's not where it ends, as these mini-champions have gone on to inspire others with their work. Motivated to bring social change, these kids have been fighting courageously, challenging entrenched orthodoxies and even the state.
On Universal Children’s Day, we take a look at some child activists from South Asia, who have been influential in making an impact:
Meet the child activist from India who fights for girls’ right to education. Payal Jangid hails from a small town in the state of Rajasthan, India. She is a leader of the child parliament in her village and runs a campaign for the education and empowerment of girls.
Payal Jangid (Others)
You know about Malala but there is another champion from Pakistan. Iqbal Masih is a symbol of the fight against child labour and slavery around the world. In the year 2000, he won the World's Children's Honorary Award for his work for the rights of children trapped in debt slavery. Starting off as a carpet factory worker himself, Iqbal has helped over 3,000 children escape from bondage.
Iqbal Masih (Others)
Malalai Joya from Afghanistan is an activist and has been working since grade 8. She was 4 when her family had to flee the country to live as refugees in Iran. She returned to Afghanistan during the Taliban's reign in 1998 and worked as a human rights advocate for half a decade. Joya is the director of the non-governmental group Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities.
Malalai Joya (Others)
Kavindya Thennakoon from Sri Lanka is 16 years old and has been actively working towards providing better education to children. She works at The Warehouse Project, which provides free English classes to children. Kavindya serves on Youth Service America's Global Youth Council, where she participates in developing programs for youth to implement changes in the community. She is also a member of the United Nations Youth Advisory Panel as a Gender Equality adviser.
Kavindya Thennakoon (Others)
Born in a poor family and forced into underage marriage, Radha Rani Sarker from Bangladesh is an advocate for girls' rights in her region. Dreaming of building a centre for girls escaping from underage marriages, her volunteer group 'wedding busters' has saved 20 girls till now.
Radha Rani Sarker (Others)
Nawaraj Rai from Bhutan recently won the Golden Youth Award in his native country for his ideas and contribution towards important issues that impact the youth. His foundation works in a number of different areas such as protecting the rights of the disabled, substance abuse prevention and treatment, education and employment generation.
Nawaraj Rai (Others)
Safaath Ahmed Zahir is UN Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals from the Maldives. She works towards the empowerment of women. An activist for women's rights, she is among 17 people appointed as the inaugural class of UN Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals.
Safaath Ahmed Zahir (Twitter)
16-year-old Hem from Nepal is helping to put a stop to child marriages in her region. A member of the local children's club and a leader of the regional network of Child Protection Committee, she aims to change people's attitudes.
(Contributed by: Kandarp Rustogi and Zeba Khan)