UNICEF Appoints Pakistani Teenager as First-Ever Youth Advocate

Activist, author, and motivational speaker Taqwa Ahmad, 16, has been appointed as UNICEF’s first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan.

Hailing from Gujranwala, Punjab, Taqwa is a champion for peace, inclusivity, disability rights, and education. The appointment – announced on World Children’s Day – encourages children to raise their voices and become changemakers for child rights.

“I am humbled and excited to become a UNICEF Youth Advocate. My goal is to amplify the voices of young people, champion their rights, and empower others. I envisage a future where every child in Pakistan can access high-quality education and healthcare, so they can flourish in a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment,” says Taqwa Ahmad.

In her role as UNICEF Youth Advocate, Taqwa will use her platform to shine a spotlight on child rights and issues affecting youth. Recently, Taqwa and five other child representatives met with the President of Pakistan, H.E. Dr. Arif Alvi to discuss their key concerns for children as part of a UNICEF World Children’s Day initiative.

The delegation represented children from different age groups and backgrounds from all provinces and regions of Pakistan. Together, they highlighted climate change, inclusive education, and gender equality as critical issues requiring urgent action from leaders, decision-makers, and the whole of society to safeguard their futures.

Children in Pakistan face a multitude of challenges. They are on the frontlines of climate change, threatened by increasingly destructive extreme weather events including floods, droughts, and heatwaves.

Over 22 million children remain out of school, depriving them of vital opportunities to learn, earn and grow. High rates of malnutrition and poverty threaten children’s survival and well-being. Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.

“Taqwa inspires us not only with her powerful words but through her actions and her incredible personal story – overcoming the challenges of a spinal condition, becoming a karate champion despite needing a wheelchair – providing a beacon of hope to children, especially girls everywhere. We are honored for her to become our first-ever Youth Advocate in Pakistan,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.

UNICEF will continue to work with young people, activists, and advocates to support the next generation of changemakers to build a more inclusive and equitable Pakistan, where the rights of all children are protected and upheld, and their true potential is recognized to secure a better future for all.

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