Drogheda teenager shadows Leo Varadkar for UNICEF's #KidsTakeOver initiative

The Taoiseach's office has been taken over by a teenager today.

Sixteen-year-old Joella Dhlamini from Drogheda, Co Louth is shadowing Leo Varadkar to mark World Children's Day

Joella is originally from Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa but moved to Ireland in 2013 to escape violent crime, and to benefit from Ireland's education system.

She is part of UNICEF's Global #KidsTakeOver initiative , which is running to highlight children whose futures are not as bright.

The pair attended a number of events across counties Meath and Dublin today before returning to Leinster House for World Children's Day celebrations.

Joella says she intends to raise the issue of racism in Ireland with the Leo Varadkar.

"I think it's avoided in some cases because people might feel uncomfortable," she said.

"But I think it should be something that's taught in schools - children should know that it's not right to discriminate against someone because of the colour of their skin or where they've come from."

Joella also spoke to Mr Varadkar about issues of concern for young people in Ireland, as expressed to UNICEF Ireland, including disability rights, poverty, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.


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