To mark International Youth Day, Theirworld's Ayesha Chaudhry shares the stories of some of our inspiring young education advocates.
As part of the Youth Team at Theirworld, I have seen first-hand the incredible strength and power of our Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs).
From running projects in their own communities to mobilising a whole continent to push for the prioritisation of early childhood education, this international network of young changemakers is a force to be reckoned with.
One of the things I love about the GYA programme is that it pushes young people to accept social development as a collective responsibility and encourages them to push for change.
With International Youth Day on August 12, I wanted to share the stories of our Global Youth Ambassadors and - with the help of current GYAs - showcase why it is such a brilliant programme for young people.
Apply to become a GYA
Applications to become a GYA are open. If you are aged 18 to 28 and passionate about education, submit your application as soon as possible. Being part of the programme gives you the opportunity to meet and network with young people who are advocating for the right to education. Apply here.
What has been my highlight been so far?
I have been very lucky to have worked with our incredible GYAS on several different projects. From supporting them with campaigning opportunities to hosting virtual events for the network, I have been very busy over the last few months.
I’ve loved every aspect of my work but there have definitely been some stand-out moments.
Seeing GYAs connect and network with one another has been particularly rewarding. From supporting each other’s projects across social media to meeting up and connecting in real life, witnessing the encouragement and inspiration GYAs lend to one another is unmatched.
Being able to support them and watch them flourish and grow more confident as part of this community has been one of my highlights in this role. Bushra Farooq, a Global Youth Ambassador from India, wholeheartedly agrees with me on this - and adds:
The GYA programme has been an empowering platform for me, especially being able to read stories of individuals making a difference within their communities. It has made me realise no change is too small.
Simbiat Oladoja from Nigeria also shared her thoughts on being a GYA. For her, the programme has been a life-changing experience.
It has given Simbiat more awareness of global issues and being able to experience the world from a different perspective through her fellow GYAs.
Being involved with the network has pushed her confidence to speak out and seeing the work of other young people has both inspired and challenged her to do more in her community and beyond.
Hosting virtual events and speaking to GYAs for our newsletter features and our GYAs in Conversation broadcasts has been another favourite moment of mine.
Throughout my conversations with GYAs, I have always been inspired by their resilience and passion to create change on any level possible.
From speaking to Jeffrey Kosgei in Kenya, Sarah Boateng in the UK and Palak Sharma in India, each GYA has stressed to me how young people continue to invoke change and make a powerful difference. They remind me that - even in the smallest of communities and with limited resources – you can make a difference.
By being a part of the GYA programme, you can amplify this change. Connecting and collaborating with young people across the globe, you can work together to support and learn from one another as you continue your journey as Theirworld Global Youth Ambassadors.
What am I looking forward to?
I am most excited to expand the GYA network. Our current network is made up of more than 1,000 young people from 70 different countries and it has been incredible to see them mobilise globally and come together to campaign for the same cause.
With a brand new GYA platform - full of education resources and advocacy trainings – there is so much for young people to get involved in and learn from the programme.
Nina Mbah, a Global Youth Ambassador from Nigeria, wanted to share her favourite moments on the programme and what she has gained from her journey as a GYA.
She said: “I learnt to take the initiative, to be a part of a global movement and to mobilise people and resources at the grassroots. From the #UpForSchool movement, to the Education Cannot Wait advocacy project, I gradually built on my capacity to network, speak up and advocate for inequality in Nigeria’s education space.
“I engaged with community leaders, local media houses and even mobilised young people to call the government’s attention on the shortcomings in education spaces.
"The GYA programme pushed me to even raise resources to support local projects, supporting children and young people in my community to go to school or develop an employable skill.”
You are making a difference as GYA. Don’t stop, keep at it - continue to create the much-needed opportunities for children’s education in your communities and beyond.