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The Ombudsman for Children’s Office To Celebrate World Children’s Day with Child Talks 2020

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) will mark World Children’s Day tomorrow, Friday the 20th of November, with a special online broadcast of Child Talks 2020Child Talks is an annual Ted Talks style event that aims to elevate the voices of children and young people and provide a unique platform for them to share their stories and vision.

An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D and the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon will join speakers from across  Ireland aged 8 to 18 years as they take to the virtual stage to cover a range of topics including mental health, individuality at school, the environment, living with autism, homelessness, youth activism and cultural identity.

This year’s Child Talks speakers are:

  • Cuan (10) from Cork was diagnosed with Autism when he was very young and in his short video, he will talk about some of the challenges he faces every day and his strategies to deal with them.
  • India (17) from Donegal who will share how, after learning to cope with her own mental health struggles she was inspired to support her fellow students and produce a mental health manual for Covid times.
  • Katherine (16) from Dublin will talk about how she struggled to embrace her Nigerian culture while also wanting to ‘fit in’ with everyone else.
  • Emer (17) from Tipperary will talk about importance of self-expression, which is enshrined in Article 13 of the UNCRC and states that a child should have the right to freedom of expression.
  • Sisters  Maria (16) and Afaf (13) from Dublin will share their story about the volunteer work they undertake with their Mother at the charity the Muslim Sisters of Eire.
  • Charlie (8) from Cork will talk about how caring for the environment at a local level is vital to all our lives, especially as we all spend more time outdoors.
  • Evan (18) from Cork will talk about activism and empowering young people to build their own activism toolbox from scratch and to stand up for the issues they believe in.

The hour-long broadcast will be co-hosted by Eric (19) from Longford and Katie (19) from Kilkenny, who were both Child Talks’ speaker themselves, wowing the audience in 2019 and 2018 respectively, with their energy and enthusiasm.

In a special message to the participants and the young viewers across the country An Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D said “The stories and experiences of the participants of Child Talks 2020 illustrate how children and young people are often leaders in times of change and challenge. I appreciate how difficult the past few months have been for young people, how much they have missed out on, and I understand that they are worried about their families and friends. I also know how resilient and strong young people are and how supportive they are of each other.

“Be proud of all the things you have already achieved, bring the learnings and experiences of the last eight months with you into the future, and make your family, your society and the world a better place.”

Due to Covid-19 restrictions Child Talks, which normally takes place as a live event, was moved entirely on-line. Each of the speakers and the hosts, under the guidance of the OCO Child Talks team, recorded their story from their own homes all over Ireland. This  will now form the special programme to be broadcast at 11 am on Friday 20th of November on the OCO website The broadcast will also include Irish language subtitles and sign language interpretation.

Speaking in advance of the broadcast of Child Talks 2020, Roderic O’ Gorman T.D and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth said “ Child Talks 2020 promises to be an extra special event and I wish to congratulate all the participants who I know went to a huge effort to create the programme. World Children’s Day is an opportunity for us to advocate, celebrate and promote children’s rights it is therefore truly inspiring to see how these children and young people are  so capable of advocating for themselves, their families and their communities.”

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said “The format for Child Talks 2020 may have changed quite dramatically but the stories and experiences are more powerful than ever. Here at the Ombudsman’s Office we were absolutely committed to ensuring we could give children and young people a voice in this year of upheaval. Our commitment was met each step of the way with the enthusiasm and passion of the participants.  Child Talks 2020 is testament to both the resilience and enterprising nature of young people during the Covid- 19 pandemic. I want to thank them all for stepping up and sharing their stories and I would encourage everyone to tune in tomorrow for this very special broadcast. “

Child Talks 2020 will be  broadcast at 11 am on Friday 20th of November on the OCO website