For many years now, UNICEF, in support of the Congolese Government, has given young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the opportunity to defend the children rights and to be involved in the decisions that concern them. In the province of Ituri, at the North-East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an entire generation of Reporters has now reached adulthood. Some of these former Children Reporters share their experiences, doubts, and hopes.
“As a Child Reporter, I have gained a lot of knowledge that is useful to me today”, says Elie Msemeza, 26 years. Today I am an account manager in a bank in Bunia, “I know how to approach people and what to say to them to support my opinion”, explains Elie recalling the training he had received as a Child Reporter.
“My commitment to the cause of children comes from the day I saw a mother whipping her child who had taken food while he was hungry”, recalls Elie, pointing out that he is still passionate about humanitarian work. “I want to end up back in the human rights defense”.
“Today, I am in the human rights defense field but as a former Child Reporter, I always keep a close eye on children rights violations”, tells 25-years-old Noëlla Giramiya.
Going to the field, noting, sensitizing, and interacting with others is a routine work for Noëlla. “It is as if my work as a Child Reporter continued but in another dimension”, Noëlla said.
“I used to like taking photographs but I did not know where to start”, recalls Latouifa Fetafeta, 22 years old. Passionate about photography, Latouifa saw her childhood dreams come true as she become a Child Reporter. “I persevere today because of what I learned as a Child Reporter”, explains Latouifa.
Today, a director, Latouifa continues to work for children’s rights. “With them, I cannot close my eyes and just look”, concludes this youngster, always proud to defend children’s rights through pictures.
“My father always asked me why I was talking about children’s rights when mine were respected”, recalls Prisca Mongita, 21. “Thousands of children are suffering and we should not settle for our own satisfaction and our own wellbeing, but also for the others”, answered the girl, proud of her commitment as a child reporter.
Today, a journalist for an online media, Prisca specializes in children’s rights.“I work to change mentalities and behaviors in favor of the children. This is what I want to give as a gift to the children of Ituri, of the DRC, of Africa, and why not of the whole world”.
“We must continue to invest in children because we were children yesterday”, says Nathan Mugisha, 24 years, a lawyer.
“In reaching out to children from the most remote backgrounds and feeling what they felt, I realized that advocating for children’s rights had become part of me”, says Nathan, who continued his commitment to children’s rights within a human’s rights promoting organization. “It is an opportunity to perpetuate my experiences and also to participate in improving the situation of children”, concludes the young lawyer.
Commitment is the biggest thing a Child Reporter can offer to his peers. When When children participate in issues that concern them, this also prepares them for their future and gives them the best tools to successfully enter adulthood.
Translated from French by Dorsaf James
David a rejoint le Club d'Ecoute pour Enfants en 2012. Deux ans après, il en est devenu le porte-parole puis en 2015, le coordonnateur. La même année, David est devenu Enfant Reporter. Il présente également diverses émissions sur les droits de l'Enfant. "Parler des droits de l'Enfant via les médias, c'est ma préférence". David étudie le droit à Bunia et rêve de travailler à la défense des droits des plus vulnérables.
David joined the Children's Listening Club in 2012. Two years later, David became the spokesperson and in 2015 the coordinator. That same year, David became a child reporter. Since 2014, David has hosted various programmes on child rights. "I want to use the media to talk about child rights”. David studies law in Bunia and dreams of working to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. He says he will always work for children.
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