By Rathana Puth

© Rathana Puth

This blog was developed as part of the Voices of Youth blogging internship assignment requirement. Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

Hello! My name is Rathana. I’m 17 years old. Since this is my first blog, I will tell you a bit about myself so you can get to know me before reading my next post.

I really like writing because it allows me to express myself by putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper. It is such an honor for me to be a part of the local Voices of Youth blogging internship. It is encouraging young people to learn about social issues and come up with solutions for them .

This year I’m a grade 12 student. I’m a friendly and outgoing person, and I love to read and make new friends. I also like to volunteer for social works to get more experience and help people in the community.

In my community many young people are really well-behaved. We love to spend time with family and friends. Only a small amount of young people are involved in violence and drugs. There are many groups of gangs in public school. They usually bully other students and start fights. We had lost one student after fighting against rival gangs in school. There were many questions about the main reason behind the fight. Drugs is one of the main reason that lead those gangs into fighting. They were using drugs to encourage themselves to feel like a grown man.

Moreover, teenagers also face sexual abuse. There is a report from 2013 that found, out of 2,376 individuals surveyed, 4.4% of females and 5.6% of males between 18 to 24 years old were sexually abused before age 18. More than 6% of females and 5% of males aged 13 to 17 reported having been sexually abused at least once in their childhood. Most children never talk to anyone about their experiences nor do they reach out for help. When they do, they encounter many challenges. That’s why we have to try our best to get the victims to speak out and fight. Because everyone has the right to live and to protect ourselves.

These are some of the issues that I am most passionate about in discussing. As a youth, I believe it is my responsibility to contribute in any way I can to the development of my country and to make sure that every child and teenager has the right to live and protect themselves equally.

Please kindly support my next blog post, which I hope will interest you, and join me in my blogging journey for the local Voices of Youth!

I’d love to receive any feedback from anyone of you! Feel free to ask me any questions!

Originally posted on Thursday, August 11, 2016

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