Voices of youth

Filmmaker & Photographer 
Tim Webster


Running time
6 x 1 minute

Countries of production
Maldives, Sri Lana, Bhutan

Year of production

Resilient and impassioned, South Asia’s youth are challenging convention.

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF sought to document the real perspectives and aspirations of the region’s young people.

Our subjects ranged from Neesha, a construction engineer paving new paths for women to environmentalist Afa Husayn, protecting her small island, Kulhudhuffushi, from climate breakdown. This campaign encompassed video and photo stories alongside written articles and hundreds of high-quality photos.


Afaa is an environmental activist who runs her own NGO. She lives on Kudafushi, an island in the Maldives where development is occurring at the expense of the environment. For example, a freshwater body has been reclaimed to build a new airport. Afaa is incredibly passionate about her work – a young champion of children’s rights to a safe environment.


Hamna is a high school student who engages regularly in extracurricular activities. She volunteers for UNICEF, tutors younger students and is on the national swim team. She’s motivated and driven. Hamna wants to be a physiotherapist in the future, while continuing to represent her country in sport.


Thayalen has benefitted from UNICEF’s work and every children’s right to quality care if they can’t live with their parents. When Thayalen was six, his father and mother committed suicide. Now he lives with his grandmother who supports them both through labour work at a rice mill. Due to inadequate parental care he was not regularly attending school and was at risk of dropping out.

The Social service workforce members came to know about his vulnerability and encouraged him to continue school. As transport was an issue for him to regularly attend school, his grandmother bought a push bike for him – which unfortunately got stolen at school. Now he goes to school with the support of his uncle. He is interested in playing cricket and spends time with grandmother and aunt. A Child Right Promoting Officer and counselling offers visits him regularly to check and monitor his situation and to link him with relevant other service providers. His grandmother is also committed and caring for him and his education.


Tashi is a school captain and active youth volunteer. She uses her leadership position to advocate for children’s rights and is particularly passionate about child protection and ending violence against children.


Tshering is an 18-year-old who left school early. After her mother passed away, she stopped attending class after grade five. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do until 2018, when she decided to become a skilled and educated farmer. Now, as a farmer in her village, Tshering is inspiring many young people to learn new skills and embrace different sustainable means of livelihood.

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Voices of Youth is a multimedia campaign tailored to social networks. The advocacy materials are designed to be compelling from the first frame to ensure viewers engage and share.