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U-Report champion advocates for inclusive children’s rights

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Mosa Kuape

I strongly believe in upholding children’s rights because every individual, regardless of age, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Children, in particular, are especially vulnerable and need special protections to ensure their growth in a safe and nurturing environment.

Children’s rights encompass fundamental aspects such as access to education, freedom from violence and abuse, and the entitlement to a secure and healthy environment. Guaranteeing these rights for every child is crucial in establishing a fair and just world.

The rights of children with disabilities hold equal significance to those of their peers. They deserve the same level of respect for their rights and the necessary support and protection.

These rights encompass various essential aspects:

  • The right to a safe and healthy environment
  • The right to education
  • The right to freedom from violence and abuse
  • The right to healthcare
  • The right to inclusion and full participation in their communities

Furthermore, these fundamental rights include specific aspects:

  • Freedom from discrimination and exclusion
  • The opportunity to live independently and be part of the community
  • Access to easily understandable information and communication
  • Access to education tailored to their specific needs
  • Access to assistive technology and devices that facilitate their full participation in society

These examples highlight a fraction of the extensive rights that children with disabilities should rightfully have. Upholding these rights not only benefits these children but also propels us towards a more inclusive and fair society.

Being a U-Report champion in Lesotho, entails involvement in a program under UNICEF Lesotho, the United Nations Children’s Fund office in the country. Their dedicated work revolves around advocating for and safeguarding the rights of children.

They implement impactful programs like U-Report and various initiatives aimed at enhancing children’s lives. Their focus spans crucial areas including health, nutrition, education, protection, and child survival.

From my research, it is evident that UNICEF Lesotho collaborates closely with the government, civil society organisations, and diverse partners to ensure that children have unfettered access to the necessary resources and services essential for their growth and well-being.

Undoubtedly, UNICEF Lesotho assumes a pivotal role in championing children’s rights throughout the nation.

As a young person with disabilities affiliated with the Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled (LNFOD) and its DPO, the Lesotho National Association of the Physically Disabled (LNAPD), I have engaged with resources such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, incorporated into Lesotho’s Children’s Welfare and Protection Act, offering essential guidelines on children’s rights.

Accessing LNFOD’s advocacy initiatives has been enlightening.

They conduct impactful activities like policy dialogues, campaigns, and awareness programs that champion the rights of children, particularly those with disabilities.

The National Disability Mainstreaming Plan by LNFOD, in particular, outlines strategies for ensuring equal access to education and resources for children with disabilities.

As a part of LNFOD’s youth cohort, I have direct communication with the organisation, gaining insights into their efforts to advocate for children’s rights in Lesotho.

For instance, the National Disability Mainstreaming Plan aims to ensure equal opportunities for all children, irrespective of their abilities.

LNFOD’s multifaceted approach involves training and aiding teachers, educators, and professionals to better cater to the unique needs of children with disabilities.

They also actively advocate for the rights of these children in media and public discussions, striving to create a more inclusive society by challenging discriminatory laws and policies.

Additionally, efforts extend to guaranteeing equal opportunities for children with disabilities. Initiatives like U-Report empower young people in Lesotho to voice concerns and advocate for changes related to children’s rights, fostering a platform for impactful discussions and actions.

As a U-Report champion, I actively contribute to advancing children’s rights, particularly for those with disabilities, through various means:

  • Disseminating crucial information and elevating awareness about children’s and disability rights via the U-Report platform.
  • Inspiring fellow young individuals to engage in U-Report, empowering them to voice concerns on issues that hold significance to them.
  • Establishing connections with fellow U-Report champions and youth advocates, aiming to strengthen our network of supporters for children’s rights. Though our collaborations aren’t always consistent, we’re committed to enhancing teamwork to achieve our common goals.

As an international fashion model with disability in Lesotho, I contribute to promoting children’s rights, including for children with disabilities, in several ways:

  • By using my platform and influence to raise awareness about disability rights.
  • By being a role model for children with disabilities, showing that they can achieve their dreams and succeed in life.
  • By challenging stereotypes and assumptions about what children with disabilities can do, and showing the world that they are capable, talented, and worthy of respect.
  • And I am willing to partnering with organizations that promote children’s rights and disability’s rights and use my platform to amplify their message.

That would be an amazing world to live in!

It would look something like this:

  • Every child has access to quality education, healthcare, and nutrition, regardless of their background or circumstances.
  • All children are free from violence, exploitation, and discrimination.
  • Children have the opportunity to play, learn, and grow in safe and supportive environments.
  • Children with disabilities are fully included and have the same opportunities as other children.
  • Children’s voices and opinions are heard and respected, and their rights are protected by law.
  • Governments, communities, and families work together to create a world where children’s rights are a top priority.

Mosa Kuape, is one of the U-Report Champions in Lesotho, an International Fashion Model, and a Network Engineer (Networking and Infrastructure Manager). She is also a youth with a physical disability of being a little person.

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