PALESTINE – December 3 2020 Maya advocates for the rights of Palestinian children 17-year-old Maya represents the children of Bethlehem governorate as President of the Palestinian Children Council. 17-year-old Maya defends the children of Bethlehem governorate by monitoring any violations against a child that she and her team notice at school, in the streets or in their community. She then reports it to decision makers and the respective ministries so they may take the necessary measures. Maya also advocates for children’s rights by facilitating discussions with various ministries about the problems children in her governorate face. “I think it’s good that we, as children, meet and talk to decision makers because I feel, when they hear our concerns directly from us, they value it more," explains Maya. Maya’s journey as an advocate for children’s rights started at SOS Children’s Villages Palestine. She attended many sessions with other children her age related to child protection and safeguarding, and has since become interested in gaining more knowledge about the topic. She then had the opportunity to participate in the Palestinian Children Council in Bethlehem and her sister encouraged her to apply. “My sister said that because of the information I received already in the village, I can defend children’s rights well. I applied, gave a speech and they voted for me," says Maya. Maya’s dream is to become a lawyer—a dream she already started working on by gaining more knowledge about children’s rights and reading books on the subject. Ever since she spent the day in the role of the Chief of Juvenile Prosecution during her field visit to the Juvenile Prosecutor's Office in September. her motivation has only increased. “The fact that the Head of the Juvenile Prosecution Office invited me and taught me about his job showed me how much he cares about the interests of children. Spending the day in his role made me more motivated to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer,” says Maya. Meanwhile, Maya continues to make the voices of children known to decision makers and supports the idea that children should know their rights so that they can participate more actively in their communities. “Children should have a total knowledge about their rights to be able to defend themselves. It’s true that we usually talk about children’s rights to education, health services, etc. However, I think we are still lacking the right to participation. Children should have more opportunities to share their opinions and participate more in different activities,” concludes Maya. Learn more about how we advocate for children's rights.