May 03, 2016

New comic series illustrates the power of our Global Youth Ambassadors

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Steve Nguyen comic story about Global Youth Ambassador Wanja Maina from Kenya

Wanja Maina from Kenya is featured in the first monthly story

 

They are amazing young people doing inspirational things. A World at School's network of 500 Global Youth Ambassadors are committed education advocates from 84 countries who support our campaigns to get every child into school and learning.

Now they are being featured in a series of illustrated stories which tell how they are taking the lead in education change.

James Edleston, Senior Manager for Youth Engagement at Theirworld - the children's charity behind A World at School - said: "It is also about their journey as advocates and campaigners and what that teaches us about supporting young people as leaders in the movement for education for all."

The comic book-style stories have been created with Theirworld by Studio APA, which worked with A World at School last year to make an animated film about the lives of three of our Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs).

The studio's co-founder is director, writer and producer Steve Nguyen. He said: "The brilliant team at Theirworld and Studio APA have been constantly focusing on creative ideas to promote powerful stories. We wanted to do something positive, yet simple. Something that shines a light on the youth that constantly fought for their future in order to inspire others to do the same.

"Each month, our teams will be working together to curate a story based on one of these brave young men and women that are making a difference in our world."

Each of the stories in the sries, called Presenting, features an interview with a GYA. The first is titled The First Step and tells the story of Wanja Maina from Kenya. You can read the full story here.

Steve Nguyen comic story about Global Youth Ambassador Wanja Maina from Kenya

James said: "As well as one young woman’s inspiring story, we can learn from Wanja about the journey into advocacy. In just a few words we see:

  • The value of a strong role model, in this case her mother
  • The central role of personal experience, and often personal challenges
  • The strength that comes from meeting people who have a shared experience
  • The importance of being observant; of seeing injustices and the needs of others around us
  • The power of stories. Stories give us ways to see the world and our place in it that can inspire action

"Wanja showed courage and commitment, not only by deciding to take action, but also through her willingness to share her story. For Wanja the story of the hummingbird inspired her - now Wanja’s story can be an inspiration to others."

Read Wanja's story here

Steve was inspired by the work he did last year with our GYAs. He added: "In reading these stories, I hope that you will support our cause in furthering our mission to help these youth obtain the education that they so desperately need."

A World at School's Global Youth Ambassadors have been key in campaigning for the right of every child to be in school.

Here James Eddleston explains why...

"Young people’s civic and civil participation in general, and in development in particular, is currently high on the global agenda and the rationale for youth participation is well rehearsed.

Wanja Maina Global Youth Ambassador from Kenya

Wanja Maina helps to get children in her community into school

"There’s a demographic imperative, with nearly half the world under 25. It’s a right, enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are the future teachers, policymakers and business people.

"They bring new energy, ideas and approaches to old problems, and readily challenge the status quo. Youth participation supports generational change towards greater peace, justice and equality, and by involving children and young people in decisions that affect their lives you get better decisions - as ‘young people are experts in being young’.

"Children and young people are also the least able to influence the forces that impact their lives, but are often impacted the most by those forces.

"The challenge of making this real is the subject of another blog…

"For A World at School, children and young people are our most vital source of power. From NGO meetings, to municipal offices, to the UN, our strength comes from representing the needs, concerns and aspirations of those whose right to education is being denied.

"Our Global Youth Ambassadors help us do that. They reach out and engage children and young people, they listen and research, they share information and ideas, and provide a bridge between our organisation and children, young people, educators, schools and decision-makers around the world.

"Many ambassadors are from countries facing education challenges, such as conflict, lack of resources or high levels of gender inequality - and speak powerfully from their own experience of education.

"They are also engaged with a huge diversity of other campaigns, projects, organisations and networks, locally, nationally and globally. They multiply their impact through A World at School and we multiply our impact through them.

"At A World at School, we see the empowerment of young people and the improvement in education as mutually reinforcing. And in our efforts to support both we are exploring how best to facilitate young people’s journey from activists to leaders within the movement. This series is part of that exploration."

Read inspiring blogs by our Global Youth Ambassadors

  • Act