Albania, 17 years
Nominated by World Vision in Albania and Kosovo
To bring change in children’s lives, we must make sure that each one of us is a lighter of hope, of initiation, of action, of speaking up, of protection.
Ermenda, from Albania, has been involved in her local World Vision child protection group since she was 11. In her village, sons are preferred to daughters, corporal punishment is common, and girls are often taken out of school after elementary and forced to marry young. She is a strong communicator who inspires her peers, and has taught them about mechanisms they can use to report child abuse. She continues to meet with local bodies to identify and address problems in the child protection system, and she created and presented a photo advocacy report at a major UNICEF event. Ermenda is currently coordinating an action plan to strengthen local child protection, engaging both parents and children in the process. She wants every child to enjoy a childhood without tears, abuse and suffering, with equal treatment regardless of gender, race and ethnicity.