Popular South Indian film star Trisha Krishnan was conferred the UNICEF celebrity advocate status in Chennai yesterday. She will voice the rights of children including adolescents and young people and lend support to efforts for addressing anaemia, child marriage, child labour and child abuse, faced by millions of children, especially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Announcing this at a special function to mark the World Children’s Day, Mr Job Zachariah, Chief of UNICEF office Tamil Nadu and Kerala said in a statement, “Trisha is an icon for the adolescents and the young people. She has the power to amplify the children’s issues and address the violation of child rights in the family, community and public spaces. She will also promote education and health of adolescents and the value of girl child in family and society. Trisha is the first film actress from South India to receive the recognition by UNICEF. Speaking at the occasion, Trisha said, “I feel honoured with this recognition. I commit myself to create more awareness on health, education, nutrition and protection of children, especially the adolescents and young people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. I would support the efforts of the government to make Tamil Nadu malnutrition-free and open defecation free.” Trisha interacted with over 50 children who were present at the function. During her interaction with them, she stressed on girls education, a magic bullet to eliminate social evils like child marriage and child labour. “If all the girls attend school up to 18 years, we can eliminate child marriage and child labour. In the long run, girl’s education will also contribute to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality and malnutrition among children”, Trisha added. The programme was also attended by Ms M.P. Nirmala (Chairperson of Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights), Sugata Roy ( UNICEF communication specialist) and representatives from child rights organisations and academic institutions, among others.