World Children’s Day is celebrated annually on November 20 children’s rights. UNICEF Cambodia observed this event on November 18 with an event which brought together children, young people and supporters, senior figures from the government, influencers, representatives and entrepreneurs from the development and diplomatic community.

The event is focused on children and young people who are helping create a more equal and inclusive world. It also shone a spotlight on the young leaders of Generation Future, a UNICEF initiative which has reached more than 2,000 children and young people this year.

Many notable public figures attended the event, such as Samheng Boros, secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth; Put Samith, director-general at the Ministry of Education; Joseph Scheuer, UN resident coordinator in Cambodia and Anirban Chatterjee, UNICEF’s acting representative in Cambodia.

Also attending the event is Thierry Chantha Bin, the Cambodian national footballer who led football activities with the young people in attendance. They were also entertained with musical performances by musicians Nikki Nikki and Sang Sok Serey.

Put Samith said he was pleased to be at the event each year on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

“This event is important and meaningful in encouraging children’s ideas and ambitions, and promoting young people’s confidence and hope for a better future through access to good-quality education and support. The ministry supports the initiative as prioritized in the Education Road Map 2030, the five-year strategic plan and the annual executive plan to invest in education for young people,” he said.

Joseph Scheuer, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Cambodia, said that World Children’s Day is important because it is impossible to build a sustainable future without involving the people who are in fact going to live in that future.

“Everyone at the United Nations strongly supports young people participating in all aspects of the country’s development. We must encourage young people’s actions and give them the tools to meet the challenges. Generation Future is an example of an initiative which has built an ecosystem around the bright ideas of promising young people,” he said.

Noppon Chhim, 19, who leads a Generation Future project promoting greater equality in youth employment, said that the day is special as it gives young people a platform to speak out about what they value most and want to see change.

“I am honoured, excited and humbled to be given this opportunity to be a voice for young people, and to highlight opportunities for us all to work together to address challenges and help develop Cambodia’s youth. I believe children should be involved in shaping the future even when young, so they can develop the necessary skills and experience to become future leaders,” he said.

Last year, to celebrate World Children’s Day, UNICEF unveiled the pilot of Generation Future, with 13 projects tackling a range of important issues. These campaigns reached thousands of young Cambodians and most continue to this day.