The 60-day countdown to the 2015 elections in Myanmar began today with children calling on voters to vote for those who priorities children.
The press conference, held today at Monsoon Restaurant in downtown Yangon, also launched the NGO Child Rights Working Group’s (NCRWG) #VoteForChildren campaign. The NCRWG is a group of 50 NGOs and CSOs working together to fulfill children’s rights in Myanmar.
“This campaign is very important for every child in Myanmar,” said Maung Zin Min Thu, 17, one of the children who spoke at the press conference. “There are many children without education here. This campaign can help to educate the masses on child rights, especially candidates, voters, children and parents.”
The #VoteForChilden campaign is aimed at gaining commitments from political candidates and parties to increase investments for children in the upcoming 2015 elections. As children make up a third of the population, it is vital that their interests are also considered in the voting and campaigning process.
“I want Myanmar to support children,” Maung Zin Min Thu said.
“When I was in grade 8, I dropped out of school. My parents were getting older and I wanted to help out with the family’s finances. So I dropped out.”
“Without my grade 10 graduation certificate, however, it was difficult to find a job. As I am a child, I had little respect from employers as well. I had no knowledge or awareness of child rights or the importance of education. In the end, I helped my father to fix and sell bicycles at his shop.”
These were some of the issues shared at the press conference. Over 40 participants in Yangon attended the event, to listen to children explain the challenges they face growing up, and the importance of this campaign to them.
“I am confident that this campaign can help to change children’s lives,” said Maung Zin Min Thu. “When we had the opportunity to speak with political parties on 28th August, the political parties really listened to us and wanted to learn more about our experiences. The media is also getting involved now to help us spread our messages and raise our voices. I am hopeful that this will help change the lives of children.”