Fifteen-year-old Toormina High student and proud Gumbaynggirr boy Xavier Berry has been appointed as a UNICEF Young Ambassador.
Fifteen-year-old Toormina High student and proud Gumbaynggirr boy Xavier Berry has been appointed as a UNICEF Young Ambassador. Patrick Moran

Coffs boy appointed national children's rights advocate

XAVIER Berry, a proud Gumbaynggirr boy from Coffs Harbour, has been selected from a total of 450 applicants to become a national advocate for children's rights.

The 15-year-old, who studies at Toormina High School, was recently appointed as a UNICEF Young Ambassador by global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and former child soldier from Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah, at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Xavier said his particular passions lie in climate change, domestic violence and the foster care system - of which he is currently a part of.

"Keeping something on your chest can do a lot of damage, which I've learn because I've kept a few things on my chest and it has done some damage to me," he said.

"I just want the children who have things to say, [to] tell them that its ok to say them.

"My mother was in domestic violence issue for a bit there... Plus on the child neglect - I suffered it for a bit there.

"I want them to have a good family that loves them and cares for them and lets them be who they want to be. For every child, family."

Xavier, also known as 'X-man', is one of nine Young Ambassadors who have been appointed from around Australia.

The Navy Cadet said he was inspired to become a Young Ambassador in hope to make sure children have 'more of a say' in society, and to spread the message to his hometown of Coffs Harbour.

"I want to help. I saw all the kids in poverty and it made me stop and have a think there is this issue around the world. It's also in Australia and not just in in Africa. It's everywhere. I wanted to spread the message to the Coffs Harbour community and also the world," he said.

"I would like to educate the people of Coffs Harbour about what UNICEF does for those who don't know."

Young Ambassadors, aged between 15 and 24, consult with children and young people across Australia and speak up for children's rights.

Xavier will spend the next six months consulting with children around Australia from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. He will then compile a report on his research, which he will send to the Australian government and discuss with politicians.



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