The National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), took a groundbreaking step towards amplifying children’s voices and empowering their rights during a remarkable children-led consultation on child rights at the National Assembly of Pakistan. The event, titled “Children in the Lead: Voices Unleashed,” witnessed dynamic discussions and active participation from young changemakers to pave the way for impactful outcomes. Children actively engaged in discussions, providing valuable insights and perspectives on matters concerning their own rights and well-being. This included areas such as child labour, child marriage, violence against children, out-of-school children, child online protection, mental health, climate change and its impact on children, gender, disabilities and social inclusion, among others. This event marked a significant milestone in promoting child participation and empowerment, ensuring that children’s voices are heard, valued, and acted upon. The children took charge of the consultation process, expressing their thoughts, concerns, and aspirations regarding their rights. The child-led format of the consultation fostered an inclusive environment from the planning till the execution stage, whereby children decided upon the themes of interest prior to the consultation and felt comfortable sharing their ideas without fear of judgment. They exchanged experiences and perspectives, creating a powerful platform for dialogue. With the objective of fostering a sense of ownership and advocacy for children’s rights, the workshop encouraged children to explore and share their thoughts, experiences, and potential solutions related to various child rights challenges. Through facilitated discussions, young participants delved into issues faced by children, underscoring the importance of children’s voices being at the forefront of decision-making processes. Pirbhu Satyani, NCRC member Sindh/minorities, shared the purpose of the event: to appreciate the values of children in our society and create an encouraging environment for children where they can express their views and meaningfully participate in the decision-making process that affects their life. He said, “Organizing this activity with children in the National Assembly will yield positive results, and their recommendations will pave the way forward for meaningful policy reforms”. Mr. Satyani assured NCRC would organize the same activity in all provinces. The children put forth a wide range of insightful recommendations on issues that impact their lives. The key recommendations include the need to strengthen the enforcement of existing child protection laws to combat child labour, child marriage, and violence against children. Implement stricter measures against offenders to safeguard children’s well-being; support parents by providing job opportunities, vocational training, and skill development programs to alleviate poverty and ensure a stable environment for children’s growth and education and allocate sufficient funds to build and improve schools; ensuring accessible and quality education for all children, especially in remote and marginalized areas. The young participants at NCRC’s children’s consultation proposed utilizing solar machines to transform humidity into drinking water. By harnessing renewable energy, these innovative machines can provide access to clean and safe drinking water, particularly in areas facing water scarcity. Tree plantation emerged as a powerful strategy recommended by the children to combat climate change. They highlighted the need for widespread tree-planting campaigns to restore ecosystems, combat deforestation, and mitigate carbon emissions. The recommendations will serve as essential guidance for policymakers and stakeholders to prioritize child-centred policies. The consultation enhanced children’s understanding of their rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). By being actively involved in the discussions, the children gained a deeper appreciation of their entitlements and the importance of safeguarding them. Key stakeholders who participated in the consultation pledged their commitment to consider the children’s recommendations seriously. This commitment ensures that the children’s efforts translate into tangible actions and positive change. “As the National Commission on the Rights of Child, we strongly believe that every child’s voice matters. It is crucial to involve them in shaping policies and decisions that directly affect their lives. The ‘Voices Unleashed’ event exemplifies our dedication to creating an inclusive platform where young minds can express their ideas, concerns, and aspirations freely. Our journey to empower children’s rights has just begun, and we look forward to implementing the outcomes of this consultation for impactful change. Let us stand united in our commitment to protect and promote the rights of every child in our nation.” said Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson, NCRC. “What we witnessed today by the child champions at this vibrant forum was a true embodiment of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – children’s right to participate. By engaging children, girls and boys, in a meaningful way, we empower them to become catalysts for positive change and ensure a more inclusive and child-centred world – that is the essence of our work on child rights,” said Dr. Inoussa Kabore, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Pakistan. The Children-led Consultation on Child Rights at the National Assembly of Pakistan marked a turning point in promoting child participation and ensuring children’s voices are at the forefront of decision-making processes. By actively engaging in dynamic discussions and providing insightful recommendations, the children demonstrated their capacity to be agents of change and partners in shaping policies that affect them directly. The NCRC remains committed to continuing such child-led initiatives and translating children’s suggestions into actions that will pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all children in Pakistan.