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Children to take lead in talks on child safety

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FIRST OF ITS KIND: Sime Darby offers platform for 500 participants, trained child advocates

KUALA LUMPUR: CHILDREN, aged between 10 and 17, will have a chance to engage their peers in issues pertaining to their safety in a forum  on Sunday.

The Children for Child Protection Forum and Exhibition will feature 70 trained child advocates, who will lead discussions on child safety and protection matters.

Sime Darby Bhd corporate social responsibility head Nadiah Hanim Abdul Latif said the forum would be the first of its kind to offer a platform "for children, by children".

"This is the first time we are having children lead the discussions and speak to other children, and taking a stand.

"We want the children to realise safety is everyone's responsibility and that it starts with themselves," she said, adding that children had a role to play in ensuring their own safety and protection.

Five key topics related to child safety, chosen by the children, will be discussed in the forum, with about 500 participants nationwide.

Childline Malaysia project director Michelle Wong said the topics were derived from discussion groups with the children during an introductory session.

"We got them talking about their right to know about child protection, finding out what they think and giving them the option whether to come back as advocates or not.

"This is crucial because we want children who are passionate and want to be advocates, and not those who are there because they are forced to."

About 25 different exhibitions will also be held, catering to children, including education, Internet safety, general health and wellbeing.

The forum also has the support of the United Nation Children's Fund (Unicef) and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

Childline Malaysia project director Michelle Wong (standing, left) and Sime Darby Bhd corporate social responsibility head Nadiah Hanim Abdul Latif (second from right) discussing about preparations for the Children for Child Protection Forum and Exhibition with child advocates, (from left) R. Prabawathi, Marybeth Chang and Cathryn Alila. Pic by Surianie Mohd Hanif


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