This year, ChildFund youth delegate, 13-year-old Angie from El Salvador spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, as part of a Joining Forces delegation advocating for the increased participation of children and young people in decision-making.
We share Angie’s brave and inspiring speech in full:
Good morning to everyone present. My name is Angie. I am 13-years-old and I am from El Salvador, specifically from the department and municipality of La Libertad.
I would like to share with you that, in my free time, I love attending workshops in a space called ‘Youth Meeting House’. There I take painting and guitar workshops. In addition, in that place we carry out activities and meetings where we talk about the rights of girls and boys from other municipalities.
What I like most about my school is the education I receive and, of course, the fact that I have time to spend with my friends. I must say that El Salvador is a very beautiful country, full of tourist places. Personally, I want to share that I have had the opportunity to visit volcanoes like Izalco and Santa Ana. However, I must admit that I prefer beaches and lakes even more. But, above all, what I enjoy most is spending time with my family.
Unfortunately, in my community and where I live, we face certain difficulties, such as the lack of drinking water and spaces for recreation. For example, the field near my house is dirt and when it rains, it floods. Likewise, just like in my community, there are other areas that face problems of their own. In many cases, medical or health care centers are very far away, making it necessary to travel long distances to get there.
I firmly believe that it is essential that girls and boys actively participate in society. In a country like El Salvador, with such a rich and challenging history, our voice is crucial. We are the reflection of the future, and our active participation ensures that that future is promising and aligned with our needs and desires. By raising our voice, we also contribute to building a stronger democracy and a more inclusive society in El Salvador.
Thanks to my participation in spaces such as the “Call to Action”, I have felt identified with other girls and boys. I have noticed that many face similar problems in their communities, although there are others who have different challenges. However, the most notable thing is that by participating, we learn to prioritize our needs and unify our voice.
I remember a girl with whom I shared classes in kindergarten; she stopped studying. Together with her family, they chose to look for ways to generate income. I don’t know if it’s general disinterest or a resignation to seeing girls abandon education. I always have her in my thoughts and I wish I could go back to school, but I understand that there are other priorities.
To conclude, I would like to make a call to the adults present: girls and boys need and enjoy recreational spaces. It is also vital to have places where we can express how we feel and talk about our wishes, feelings and concerns. In this way, we will be able to fully live our adolescence and also contribute significantly to the growth and well-being of El Salvador.