ASTANA – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan hosted its annual UNICEF Talks conference on youth issues on Sept.23. The conference, held in Astana in the format of public talks, provided a platform for young people to freely express their views on matters related to their interests and rights, reported the UNICEF press service.
Sixteen speakers, aged 11 to 23, represented schools and universities from the country’s regions. They shared inspiring stories and experiences about addressing pressing issues, such as the rights of orphans and children with disabilities, strategies for overcoming challenging circumstances, necessary healthcare reforms, and improvements within the country’s migration service. They also raised awareness regarding environmental concerns and proposed potential solutions.
Laetitia Bazzi-Veil, OIC Representative of the UNICEF in Kazakhstan, highlighted UNICEF’s longstanding commitment to safeguarding children’s rights in the country. She stressed the lesser-known right of children to freely express their opinions on all matters that affect them, emphasizing that this right is realized at the UNICEF Talks platform.
The band Ninety One, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassadors, played a prominent role in the event. They shared their personal stories and experiences in dealing with bullying, illustrating successful strategies for overcoming this challenge.
“We have firsthand experience of the difficulty and pain of confronting and dealing with bullying. Addressing bullying at a young age without assistance can be exceptionally challenging. That’s why our involvement in UNICEF Talks and our support for all young speakers is important to us,” said Zaq (Dulat Mukhametkaliyev), the group’s lead vocalist.
He emphasized the potential impact of their stories in helping other young individuals facing similar challenges. He called on adults to take action to improve the situation for children in Kazakhstan, ensuring a bright future and equal opportunities for all.
Another group member, Bala (Daniyar Kulumshin), stressed the significance of sharing personal experiences and difficulties while encouraging individuals not to hesitate when seeking assistance from loved ones.
“Prior to debuting as part of Ninety One, we underwent training aimed at helping us withstand hurtful words and emotional challenges. The core concept of these training sessions was to identify which words affected you and your vulnerabilities and then work on strengthening these vulnerabilities to prevent them from having an impact in the future,” he said.
The conference brought together more than 200 participants, including representatives from government agencies, the diplomatic community, media organizations, and the general public.