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A 13-year-old boy starts making his community’s dream come true

The 20th of November marks the Universal Children’s Day around the world.
Today, we take this opportunity to celebrate the courage of Pern, a 13-year-old boy from Khammuan province, who actively took steps to transform his community, after joining the

It Starts With Me campaign launched in June by World Vision.
It all started with a community event organised by the aid agency during International Children’s Day and national arbor plantation celebrations in June, where Mr Pern participated in the awareness-raising session on climate change, and the following drawing contest, where more than 3,300 vulnerable children supported by World Vision across Laos had a chance to draw their community’s dream for the future.
An undeniable imagination and a few color pencils strokes later, the boy from a rural village of Xaybuathong district was propelled to the national celebrations of Children’s Rights to a Healthy Planet in Vientiane.
Maybe Pern was meant to be part of this contest and national-level event, unfortunate with climate hazards experience: “In the past, my family was affected by flooding, it damaged our paddy rice, crops, and some animals died.
My family didn’t have enough food to eat. I was worried about my children’s future because of our decreased income.
I might not be able to support their education,” said Mr Kanya, 35 years old, Pern’s father. In a fast-changing environment for the Lao population, we must realise that climate change is real, and will impact the rest of our lives and those of the next generations.

While those changes immediately impact us, children are and will be the most affected. 

Yet, their future is not in their control, as it lies in the hands of adults.
The It Starts With Me campaign initiated by World Vision works towards tackling this climate injustice, bringing back children like Pern at the center of the decisions by letting their voice be heard.

And Pern’s voice was heard, loud and clear.
Without talking, he expressed his most cherished wish through drawing: living in a clean environment with luxurious flora and fauna without any harm to any child.
This allowed him to win the national drawing contest and be rewarded with a new bicycle to support his daily CO2-free transportation to school.
And this was just the beginning of Pern’s change of mindset.
“I am very proud of myself that I was able to present my dream community environment in the future and I am happy that my drawing conquered many people’s hearts,” Pern shared. He continues: “Thank you for organising this event, I received a new bicycle and a set of school uniforms with study materials. I want to encourage people in my village to plant more fruit trees, and now we are separating the garbage at home”.
Protecting our children and their future starts with us. Protecting nature and its resources starts with us. The child’s right to a healthy planet: It Starts With Me.



ByAdvertorial Desk
 (Latest Update November 20, 2023)

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