My name is Bouchra and I am a dedicated and passionate supporter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s work. UNICEF is dedicated to protect and work for a better life for children all across the globe and because of that, I believe supporting the work of UNICEF should be an unquestionable moral duty of all citizens of the world.
As a high schooler, the last thing I would think to be doing on a Monday morning is convincing congressional representatives to pass bills and to instead be trying to not fall asleep in my first period AP class. Yet, that was exactly what I was doing. Advocating and fighting for what I am passionate about, the children of the world.
This weekend was one of the greatest weekends of my life thanks to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF selecting my high school as one of the few to attend the 2016 UNICEF Student Summit in Washington D.C. where this year’s theme was advocacy. After an amazing weekend full of listening to inspiring keynote speeches, taking part in great workshops, and meeting amazing people just like me who want to help make a difference in the world, we ended with Hill Day on Monday.
Hill Day was a unique experience that I was so excited for. I already help to advocate for UNICEF’s work through the UNICEF Club I started at my school, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and around my community through events and fundraisers. I am also apart of the Boston Congressional Action Team which works to engage our congressional representatives in issues affecting children around the world. However, I was so amped for Hill Day because I would actually be in the place where it all goes down, Congress. Meeting with my personal district representative’s staff as well as both of my members of congress (even briefly with Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey himself!), was such an incredible experience, especially as a young person.
Adults often do not take younger people seriously but through Hill Day, I had the opportunity to have the decision-makers hear about what I care about which is putting children first and tell them to care about putting children first as well. These meetings let me have the respect younger people often don’t receive as we were mostly the constituents of the congressional representatives and their job is to listen to what their constituents want and care about! With the rest of the participants of Hill Day coming from all over the United States doing the same thing and advocating for UNICEF, collectively our voices have a huge impact which is an amazing feeling.
The issues relating to the meetings are what I am most passionate about more than anything so I was truly speaking from the heart making it hopefully, all the time more convincing. We mainly spoke about the Reach Every Mother and Child ACT as well as the annual funding the U.S. Fund for UNICEF receives that is so crucial to do the amazing work it does. It is so important that our congressional representatives support the Reach Every Mother and Child ACT because it truly should be the United States Government duty to lead the initiative in preventing the deaths of mothers and children around the world from preventable causes. This legislation would increase and further coordinate the current efforts being taken currently to achieve the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths. Children are the future of the world and we should make saving women and children the priority in order to have a sustainable and peaceful future.
After advocating all day for UNICEF on the Hill, my commitment for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF has only grown as all I want to do now is to continue advocating for children around the world and making them the priority. This experience has been so valuable to me because of that and it has really has opened my eyes to how important and powerful it is to raise your voice as it can truly make a difference. Everyone can be an advocate for children and a world where they can be safe, happy, and have an amazing life just by simply speaking up and showing your passion for children which is exactly what I invite everyone to please do.