Children gathered outside Parliament on Saturday morning to urge politicians to include proposals they unveiled in their political agendas.
"We should stop cutting down trees and we must save water," insisted nine-year-old Gabriel Farrugia.
"And despite introducing good initiatives such as free public transport, the government must urge more people to use it and better conserve old buildings that preserve our cultural identity," argued 12-year-old Dale Delceppo.
Samuel Farrugia said he has been blind for eight years, and while schools are physically accessible with ramps and other facilities, they still lack a diverse curriculum.
"Schools have changed drastically over the past years, and we have come a long way from smacking children with rulers, but is the modern syllabus as good as it can be?" he asked.
"Our education still relies on memory work and abstract knowledge, without giving importance to practical skills and applications. Physical education, civil politics and personal growth."
Martina Oliva, 17, said that children who wish to exercise in sports grounds after school must pay to do so, because all grounds ask for rental fees right now.
"And why does healthy food need to be so expensive? Decision-makers should financially incentivise the consumption of healthy food," she argued.
99 proposals in children's manifesto
The press conference was held on World Children's Day and is the first one of its kind. The children were representatives from the Children’s Council within the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
They presented a Children's Manifesto, which includes 99 proposals that they drafted themselves over the past few years.
"The 100th goal is for the proposals to be included in a national strategy for children, through the creation of a specific Department for the Rights of the Child at government level," they said.
The manifesto includes proposals about the community and environment, health and wellbeing, education, diversity and inclusion, children's rights and active participation.
The young activists hope to meet with politicians and party leaders in the coming months, to urge them to include these proposals in their own political manifestos.
'Children must be heard, not just seen': Coleiro Preca
Maleck Haj Moussa and Shannielee Ciappara, 13, spoke about ending racism, the rights of children and the crucial role they play in everyday politics.
Ciappara called for the creation of child-friendly cities, where the voices and priorities of children are put at the forefront of policy-making.
Gozitan Elena Curmi, 10, urged politicians and social leaders to use language that all children can understand when drafting documents concering them.
The chair of the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, president emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, said children need to be heard, not just seen.
"What a pity to think that children should be rather seen than heard. That's an antiquated mentality," she said.
"In one of their proposals the children are asking to be heard. I call on you, parents, to listen to your children and give them space. You're not doing them any favours, and it's not some luxury. It is their right."