A student from Tallaght has appeared on RTÉ 2FM to encourage children and young people to take part in Child Talks 2021. Katherine Amusan (16) has encouraged children and young people to take part in Child Talks 2021. Now in its fourth year, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is proud to present Child Talks 2021; an annual event where children and young people up to age 18 are given a platform to talk about the issues that matter most to them.
This year’s theme is ‘My Hopes for the Future.’ Katherine took part in Child Talks 2020 and has encouraged children and young people to take part and to tell their story: “My story last year was about my hair and coming to terms with my identity. My culture is something to be proud of and I spoke last year about how I don’t need to separate my African culture from being born and raised in Ireland. Participating in Child Talks and getting to tell my story was a very liberating experience and it really grew my confidence. “I would tell anyone thinking of applying to go for it. You don’t need to have a fully fleshed out story – it can just be a thought or a spark – anything you are passionate about. You get so much help along the way. It is an amazing opportunity to get a platform you would not normally get.”
Speaking on the importance of elevating children’s voices, Dr. Niall Muldoon said: “The past 18 months has highlighted the importance of hearing children’s voices and their concerns. Child Talks gives us a real insight into the problems and issues children are facing and helps us to get a better understanding of their world. At a time where children’s voices have often been forgotten, Child Talks gives young people a unique platform to share their story, vision, and hopes for the future. “We want to hear from children from all over the country and from all backgrounds. We also want to hear from children with disabilities or those who may need additional supports. There is no need to worry if you have never spoken in public, we will help you and work with you. “Child Talks has changed over the past 4 years, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the message and value has remained the same. Child Talks gives our speakers the confidence and courage to speak up about the issues that matter to them and find the value in their voice.”
The OCO is inviting children from all over Ireland to apply to take part in this year’s event. Child Talks is an opportunity for children to tell their own stories, to share their views and to have their say. Taking place on November 19th to mark World Children’s Day, Child Talks 2021 will be a hybrid online-physical event streaming live from the RDS in Dublin. Since Child Talks began in 2018 young have people have talked about lots of different issues – school, disability, period poverty, culture, sexuality, family and lots more. It is completely up to the speakers.