We often say that the children are the future of the nation. If so, it is important that their opinions and participation are valued, says 2016 LEADer Sajju.
This post was written by Bidhyalaxmi Maharjan, Women LEAD’s Communication Intern
If there is one word that best describes Sajju, it’s bubbly. Playful by nature, she finds joy in little things in life. “I laugh at every joke people make. I like them. They are funny, even the ones my friends find the least funny,” says Sajju. People often mistake her cheerful spirit as carefree. But her action prove these individuals wrong.
Passionate about children’s rights in Nepal, Sajju has been actively engaged in her community from a very young age as a member of a local child club. She later headed the same club as the president. During her tenure, Sajju has led her team to run programs aimed at creating opportunities for children in her community. “Our child club launched various programs to help the children of our community. We organized badminton competition and exhibition,” she said. Her team also organized rallies and similar types of awareness programs to promote children’s welfare.
According to UNICEF Nepal, 42% of population is under 18 years of age in Nepal. The population of children points at a huge potential for the national development of the country. But Nepal can benefit from it only if ensures that all children get the opportunities for personal development and can freely enjoy their rights.“We often say that the children are the future of the nation. If so, it is important that their opinions and participation are valued. By taking part in Child Club I realized that I have a role in my community. My participation in it developed a sense of responsibility towards my community and country,” Sajju explained.
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, outlined that all children have the right to express their views and have them taken seriously in accordance with their age and maturity. The implication of this article might sound radical in our society, where the voices of children and young Nepalis are given little importance. However, adults will need to listen to their thoughts and concerns if they want to see change in the country, believes Sajju. “Children are the ones who will take over the role of heading the country’s development in the future. When [children] are listened to and our concerns are paid attention, it enhances our confidence that we can help solve the problems of our community and create positive impact. It makes us feel that we can also contribute for the betterment of our society,” she says.
As a part of our year-long LEAD Course, Sajju will continue to make a difference in the lives of younger students by implementing the School Leadership Program (SLP) at Bluebird School in Lalitpur. She, along with her co-LEADer, will teach 28 grade 9 students about personal development including public speaking, leadership qualities, child rights and civic participation. Through the SLP, she is confident that her students will learn to better express their thoughts and ideas and increase their self-esteem. Sajju added, “I want to pass on my knowledge and skills to the SLP students, so that they become capable of creating positive change.”
Sajju has always believed in the idea that one person can make a difference. Whether through her involvement in the child club or as a LEADer at Women LEAD, she is determined to inspire change in the society.