Children speak up on issues at KidZania roundtable

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Sierra Yim Sivaseelan receiving her prize from the representatives of KidZania Kuala Lumpur, UNICEF and NSTP.

In response to a UNICEF survey that showed 3 in 4 children wanted something to be done about bullying, children from KidZania CongreZZ Alumni voiced their thoughts and solutions to child rights issues in a Roundtable Discussion organised jointly by KidZania Kuala Lumpur, The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad and UNICEF.

The event that took place on Saturday at KidZania’s Bananana! Theatre, provided a platform for five child panellists aged from eight to 13 to discuss and debate issues that matter to them, including bullying, Internet use and safety, the environment, and gender equality, as part of the World Children’s Day celebrations. The Roundtable is the final event in the series of media takeovers by children in Malaysia since World Children’s Day on Nov 20, 2017.

No doubt, despite robust interchanges on the other topics, bullying remained a strong theme. Sierra Yim Sivaseelan, eight, offered a solution to resolve conflict: “We should stop fighting, by sharing, being helpful, and being polite to each other”.

“When given the opportunity children can express their views constructively and be powerful agents of social change. This roundtable is further proof of that,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Marianne Clark-Hattingh. “We all have a responsibility to create a space for children to be heard and to be listened to. We’re happy to be working with KidZania Kuala Lumpur and NSTP to promote child participation and showcase the potential of children in Malaysia. We hope this will be the beginning of a long term collaboration.”

“It’s a great pleasure to be able to be involved in this meaningful initiative by UNICEF, after all KidZania is in the business of creating experiences to cultivate positive behaviour, values and empower children to make the world a better place. The participation of KidZania CongreZZ Alumni at the roundtable discussion was remarkably sophisticated as you can see. Our children today are more conversant about the world and their surroundings, as such it is our responsibility as parents or as citizen to provide a conducive environment for them to fulfil their potential,” said Shahrul Nizar Ahmad, Mayor of KidZania Kuala Lumpur.

UNICEF National Ambassador Lisa Surihani attended the Roundtable and participated as guest jury.

UNICEF’s Children4Change Survey (https://children4change.unicef.my/world-childrens-day-poll-results/) involved over 1,000 children aged 6-17 polled both online and offline.