TITILIA Maria believes children are the most precious gift in a family.
The 22-year-old Waisali native in Cakaudrove will use the upcoming Duavata Northern Crime Prevention carnival scheduled to start in Labasa next Saturday as a platform to raise awareness on child neglect.
She is among five other contestants competing for the carnival queen crown.
"Seeing some parents leave their children at home while they go out to enjoy themselves with their colleagues is heart-rending," the FNU student said.
"It makes me wonder the kind of life that the children will go through having lived without their parents' love and affection.
"The police have come up with laws to charge parents with negligence and I believe this is only proper because this will also help them dedicate more of their time with their children. This will also help parents become more responsible and caring.
"My participation in this week-long carnival will be an opportunity for me to raise my views and opinions on child neglect. I only hope that parents will value their children and look after them well."