International Youth Day: thank you to our amazing Global Youth Ambassadors
Today is International Youth Day – when the world pays tribute to young people’s views, initiatives and achievements.
The theme this year is the role young people play in trying to end poverty and achieve sustainable consumption and production.
We are using International Youth Day to celebrate and thank A World at School’s network of Global Youth Ambassadors. They are young education advocates and campaigners in more than 80 countries who support our mission to get every child into school and learning.
So thank you to all of our GYAs. For campaigning, caring, sharing, inspiring, teaching, talking, listening, learning, lobbying, meeting, marching, music-making – and for your commitment, ideas and endless energy to make sure the right of every child to a good education becomes a reality.
And thank you for sharing some of your proudest moments on this page. We are very happy to show the world the power of young people to change our world.
Sylvia Kakyo, Uganda
I initiated a project, Keep Me In School, with the aim of promoting quality education, advocacy and knowledge-sharing towards creating a skilled, resilient community.
This happened because of a high rate of school dropouts due to barriers like early marriage, poverty and child labour.
I have come to learn that we, as young advocates, must focus not only on urban areas but put effort into rural areas because so many young children there are missing out on school and are suffering in silence. It takes our combined efforts as young advocates to get them back to school.
Ichide Charles, Nigeria
My greatest success as a GYA is contributing to the education of children in the camp for internally displaced people in Borno State and contributing to the Safe Schools campaign on the Day Of The African Child 2016.
On this day a Community Education Committee to protect schools from attack was created. To other young advocates, I would say: It begins with you as nothing changes without pressure.
Xiomara Acevedo, Colombia
We consider education the main driver of change in a society, especially in those ones where development is not merely linked to conservation.
Barranquilla+20 is a youth-led movement that contributes to the empowerment of children and youth in tackling environmental issues while educating them in sustainability, conservation and environment. We are currently working with children in the wetland of Mallorquin while promoting its defence.
Taha Fathima Khan, India
Most of us know that education – or the lack of it – is a problem. We see children, not only on the news, but also in our own communities being denied this right.
When I became a GYA the realisation grew. I had the privilege of being of part of the letter-writing team for the Safe Schools campaign. I also campaign for education as an important, but ignored, child right – via the Child Awareness Project, an organisation I founded, using statistics from Theirworld and A World at School.
I realise that there often seems to be a large gap between our efforts and the problem. But we mustn’t forget that every action, no matter how small it seems, can and will make a difference. Whether it’s writing an article, signing a petition or tweeting about an issue – every bit counts.
Nina Mbah, Nigeria
As a part-time school teacher, I have first-hand experience of the complacent attitudes of my students towards learning, mainly due to poor incentives and motivation for doing well.
I started a classroom quiz during my lessons where top performers were rewarded with free lunch snacks. The amazing results of their improvement inspired my initiating the “Nina Prize” to broker for educational resources and encourage students’ engagement in education.
So far 27 schools in Katsina state have participated in this inter-school quiz competitions. The top nine performers have received educational scholarships and we have partnered with NTA Funtua to begin airing the Nina Prize quiz weekly on TV.
Omang Agarwal, India
As a Global Youth Ambassador I have always believed in the power of education and we have been running the Winter Camp, which supports children in rural areas with opportunities of greater growth.
It provides them access to cross-curricular activities along with scholarship, academic and psychological support and counselling. The impact can be felt with these children being able to study in colleges and getting employed.
Education being universal has the power to unite youth for action, as we are not just beneficiaries of it but contributors towards its greater reach.
Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu, Cameroon
Many children stay away from school because of hunger, which also has a huge negative impact on their education. So we launched a sustainable school garden initiative called “Every Garden Every School” in three primary schools in the northwest of Cameroon.
This is where children learn how to grow food in a safe and sustainable way, run a small garden and show positive attitudes towards agriculture.
Our goal is also to bring together school children, families and communities in a common endeavour. Since its launch more children have become more engaged and we are currently waiting for the first round of garden produce, some of which will be sold and the proceeds used to provide educational supplies in school – the rest will be distributed to children to take home and eat.
Enock Nkulanga, Uganda
When I was appointed as a GYA, I was featured on national television for leading a campaign to respond to school-going young girls in Uganda.
We partnered with Natural Care Uganda, a company that deals in sanitary pads, baby pampers and other products to provide free sanitary pads to school girls so that we would keep them in school. Most rural girls find a problem staying in school because of lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels during their menstrual cycle.
I was also selected among 100 young people on the African continent to participate in the Mandela Institute for Development Studies Annual Youth Dialogue on elections, governance and youth participation in Dar Es Salaam.
Simbongile Siyali, South Africa
The most important and urgent question in life is “What are you doing for others?”
I recently visited a children’s orphanage at Vandabijlpark in South Africa and I inspired the kids to understand education is a very important tool which can improve their lives and help them to change other people’s lives as well.
Being a Global Youth Ambassador also made me see education as the only real method which can solve the difficult problems in our life. There is one tool which can make us all live like queens and kings – it is education.
Fatima Khan Baloch, Pakistan
I took an initiative to teach English to students where the medium of instruction was Sindhi. The classes were for 13 to 18-year-olds from nearby villages who had not been given the right schooling opportunities and who found it hard to cope with English at collegiate level.
I had to prepare a syllabus and develop interactive activities to overcome problems of retention – like using a catchy song to remember prepositions. Due to the age difference and lack of experience, I found it hard to be effective – but their determination allowed me to overcome initial difficulties and realise that working towards progress of education is a two-way equation.
You learn more than you teach. You take the values of compassion and try to embrace and make the most of the opportunities you are provided with.
Brady Bilala, Democratic Republic of Congo
I have lived as a young leader in my community with a passion for the promotion of education and sexual reproductive health of youth since 2014.
I have been promoting school education for all – and particularly to encourage young Congolese girls living in outlying areas of Kinshasa and in rural provinces of the DRC to go to school, including changing social norms that girls are made only for marriage and not for studies.
This change was made by the activities of the leadership training of young girls – popular awareness campaigns, educational talks, advocacy activities and mobilisation of the fund with the politicians and administrators.