GLOBAL – January 3 2021 The best investment a country can make is in its children Lusvin, who grew up in an SOS Guatemala, explains the importance of young people's participation and what led him to advocacy. Lusvin González Girón, 18, from SOS Children's Villages Guatemala, was one of the speakers at the Joining Forces for All Children event on World Children’s Day. Lusvin explains what led him to advocacy and why the participation of children and young people is indispensable. My interest since childhood was electronics. Reading also caught my attention. My first contact with human rights, however, was in school and then at home. I never thought I would be actively advocating for rights in general, but somehow it happened. In the past, I didn't understand the real reason for talking about children’s rights. The main objective of each meeting was to socialize, not to understand the real deep problems that have accompanied many for a long time. I gained knowledge and new ways of thinking and my paradigms were unconsciously changing. Until then, I only known what I had read in books. Finding out about the meaning of participation The moment I realized the importance of participation and advocacy went monumental. From that moment on, it was no longer just talk—it was about children, data, social conditions and voices that need to be heard throughout the world, as well as finding people who would listen. This is how I found out about the actual significance of my participation. There are children and young people facing different situations all around the world. Some are institutionalized and others, like me, want to make the reality of many children known. Until now, few of us had the opportunity to speak with world leaders. Speaking with world leaders is unique, but it also means we must make known the problems of the larger population. It is important to establish spaces that promote the genuine and central participation of children and youth in decisions affecting their lives. We must foster synergies between the perspectives and knowledge of adults and us, the children and young people, so that the best decisions are made. Politics have an impact on many lives I hope that events like this one will not only remain an experience but have real value for a lot of people. I hope that these policies and agreements will influence many lives and change our way of living, accessing basic resources and, above all, education. That is why I emphasize that the best investment that countries can make is in its children and youth. Those who cannot live with their parents deserve shelter, someone to protect them and spaces that promote family unity and give a sense of being at home. Companies can donate and states can and should protect children and young people, but children and young people need to unite to fight for others. When looking back at my life, I see many moments and people that have changed my life. Because of everything I have received and the people I have met, I feel that I am a very lucky young man who is committed to defending our rights. Learn more about how we advocate for the rights of children and youth.