Sam looking in the mirror in her room
South Africa: I give children a voice

“I’m a World’s Children’s Prize Child Rights Ambassador. I teach schoolchildren and members of the community about children’s rights, especially the rights of girls. I give a voice to children, because nobody listens to children in the communities we live in.

Children are afraid to speak up
As a Child Rights Ambassador, I visit other schools to talk to the children and teachers. One of these visits was to the BOSASA Centre for boys behind bars.

Learn from my story
”BOSASA is for young people who have been in trouble with the law. In other words, it’s a prison for children. Initially, we went there to attend the Global Vote Day.
   ”The boys miss their mothers and struggle to break away from their drug addictions. When they reach the age of 18, they’re sent to adult prisons even if their crimes were committed when they were children. I told them about girls’ rights and asked them to speak to their peers and become ambassadors for girls’ rights while they’re in prison.
   ”This changed the way I think about children’s rights. I couldn’t believe what those boys told us. One boy, who was 16 like me, told us his story and asked us to retell it wherever we could so that others could learn from his life. He said:
   ‘I was a member of the Nice Time Kids gang in my neighbourhood. I grew up with gangsters. My dad’s a gangster. All the tattoos on my body represent something I’ve done for the gang. So when you get a gun and you shoot somebody, you get a tattoo. When we receive The Globe magazine, we see lots of information about how adults harm children. I’m in prison now, but the adults in the gang are at home. They sent me to commit the crimes, and now I’m paying for it.’”
Sam, 15, Chris Hani School


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