Anoyara Khatun, India’s youth delegate, recently represented India at the World Youth Forum held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Anoyara is known for her exemplary work as a crusader of child rights in India, working closely with Save the Children.
Speaking on the opportunity to participate in the World Youth Forum, Anoyara said, “I feel happy when I see the youth getting the recognition and space on international platforms that they so deserve, such as in the World Youth Forum. When I was trafficked as a 13-year old, I wondered if I would be free again, but here I am affecting change and this is what I expect from youth at this forum and beyond. Let’s unite and affect real and sustainable change throughout our world."
Anoyara was one of the seven young achievers from across the world to be profiled in a showcase film that was screened at the closing ceremony. The forum was attended by more than 3000 participants from 64 countries with 222 speakers including the Grammy award winner Helen Hunt who addressed the opening along with the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi among the many other.
The forum aims to communicate the message of peace, prosperity, harmony and progress to the entire world. By engaging youth from around the world in an enriching convention, it allowed for diverse voices on the issues ranging from sustainable development, conflict and peace, innovation to women participation, youth leadership to art and literature. The forum brought together political leaders and policy makers from the countries attending the sessions.
Speaking on behalf of many young women like her she conveyed a powerful message for world leaders:
“I appeal to the global leaders and my peers, the young leaders, to create a world in which every young girl and woman gets equal opportunities to learn, develop, recognize and optimize her potential. And my special gratitude to President of Egypt for organizing such a wonderful forum bringing so many young leaders from such diverse context together in one space. It is platforms like these that push us as individuals to do more, awaken the “me” among us as a powerful force which can make this world a space for all.”
Anoyara, attended many sessions and met with other youth delegates, each one with their inspiring stories of personal struggles especially from the regions beset with conflict. Anoyara also interacted with Indian Youth Minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore along with other Indian delegates including India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya.
Anoyara participated in a session called, ‘Means to Enhance Women’s Political, Social and Economic Participation', at which she made the following speech:
“India as a nation has a long history of women taking the centrestage in leadership roles across the spectrum. I am proud that I come from a country that had Indira Gandhi as the first woman as Prime Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, first woman as Defence Minister and an endless list of women in sports, cinema, business who are known for their valuable contributions. But there are many other girls who are not so privileged and women who are fighting a constant battle to make their space without giving up. I represent those millions of woman from my country and young women like me in India and around the world. Today I stand here transforming my suffering as my strength, speaking on behalf of many like me across the world. I appeal to the global leaders and my peers, the young leaders, to create a world in which every young girl and woman will get equal opportunity to learn, develop, recognize and optimize her potential.”
Speaking about her work back in India and what she has been able to achieve, Anoyara explains, "I know the time for change is here now; with the youth – and especially women and girls -- in the center of it all. With Save the Children and its partners, I am now involved with 80 children’s groups consisting of more than 1500 children who work as agile guards against human trafficking in their villages in West Bengal, India. These brigades of children are committed to eliminate social ills that impact children. We have achieved remarkable results in a short span of time, turning around the lives of thousands of children. But there is a need to have more children working with us to create positive change for children across the country and around the world. With the support of governments -- like here in Egypt and in India and in many other countries around the world, corporates, development organizations and communities, the sky is the limit for children – as Every Last Child can soar to new heights of achievement and fulfillment.”