Maltese girl to lobby MEPs on children's rights

Sharon Cilia will be one of 11 children chosen to take part in Eurochild symposium together with MEPs

Sharon Cilia
Sharon Cilia

A 12-year-old Maltese girl is one of 11 children chosen from across Europe to take part in the Eurochild symposium intended to create direct engagement with MEPs on decisions that affect their lives.

The children will be having bilateral meetings with MEPs to discuss concrete ways to take forward the commitments involved in signing the 2014 Child Rights Manifesto “to realise the rights of every child, everywhere”.

The objective of the symposium is to develop an internal Child Participation Strategy to embed children's participation within its working structures.

Sharon Cilia, a member of the Child Council within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, will be flying to Brussels on Tuesday to attend the three-day symposium called, ‘With Children, For Children: From Ideas to Action’.

“This opportunity means everything to me. I couldn’t believe the news when the foundation told me I was chosen. This is a chance for me to learn and to transfer my knowledge; it’s something small, but I hope to make a difference,” she said.

As part of the selection process, Sharon had to submit her motivation on why she wanted to take part, and her core message was her abhorrence of injustice and her determination to do her part, no matter how small, to help end them.

The young student, who attends Maria Regina College Naxxar Middle School, says her heroes are her parents Michelle and Michael who always encouraged her to “aim for the moon so that if I miss, I’ll hit a star”.

Some of the injustices that have touched Sharon the most are the stories of prejudice and bullying she has heard from other children from gay families, as well as the lack of freedom and choice that foster children face.

The symposium, organised ahead of Children’s Day on November 20, is part of Eurochild’s determination to push the European Parliament to become a beacon for child participation for other EU institutions to follow. 

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