Meet some of the inspiring voices in the Education Youth Video Challenge
On one hot, June afternoon in New York City, 10 youths originating from 10 different countries met with Global Citizen at the YouTube headquarters.
They had all answered the challenge to raise their voices by making a 30-second video to illustrate a vision for the future of education.
Why is this relevant now?
With the new Sustainable Development Goals, came the Education Commission – a coalition launched to help the world develop a plan for achieving SDG 4. This goal calls on the world to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Facing this ambitious goal, the Education Commission passed along part of the challenge to us, the global youths around the world, in the format of a video challenge.
With support from A World At School and MTV Voices, the Education Youth Video Challenge complements the structure of the commission, as it recognises the importance of the youth voice on where investments in education should go.
The challenge called upon young people everywhere to share their vision for the future of education by responding to either of the following questions in a 30-second video:
- How can education best prepare you for your future?
- What would your ideal school of the future look like?
In mid-July, the Education Commission Youth Panel, which includes campaigner Malala Yousafzai and four of A World at School’s Global Youth Ambassadors, will vote on the video entries and give prizes to the winners. The grand prize is a trip to New York in September to watch the film being presented during the United Nations General Assembly.
The Education Commission held its final meeting on July 4 in Oslo, Norway, to set the financing agenda for their plan on how to achieve SDG 4. Their recommendations will be presented to the UN during the General Assembly in September.
This is a BIG challenge and there are two distinct trouble spots affecting education around the world today – access and quality. More than 124 million children and youth do not have access to primary and secondary school. Of the 590 million children who are in school, some 250 million fail to learn the basic skills of reading, writing, and math.
Global Citizen enters the challenge
Students are solution builders, so why not let them provide some the solutions?
Having helped organise the meet-up for Global Citizen and being a youth myself, my experience for the video challenge was unique. From trying to answer the questions and thinking about how my own education in the United States and Europe has prepared me for my future – while making sure others had “good enough” answers in 30 seconds or less – was no easy feat!
I was uncertain at first as to who would show up that Friday and what they would have to say. I struggled to come up with my own answer that was unique, so I was not completely confident if those who had responded “yes” to the invite for the video challenge would be prepared enough.
But soon after the first of the group arrived, my worries were quickly cast aside. With each new young person that showed up that day, I was continually blown away by their stories of how education has impacted them and why they want to share it with the world.
Anisha and Mojúbàolú were two of the 10 global citizens who shared their vision for education, including quality financing, girls education, safe schooling, and more. Here is a glimpse into some the powerful voices of global citizens who answered the challenge.
ANISHA FROM NEPAL
Anisha, originally from Nepal, founded the Promise of a Cycle initiative in Ghana, making sure children have bikes so that they can access schools safely. Now she advocates for gender equality in Nepal, fighting period taboos limiting girls access to school.
She said: “I am from Nepal. Because of education, I am financially independent. I have the freedom to decide what job I should do and when to get married.
“I can study anything I want without being questioned and make my dreams into a reality without being judged. I know my rights. I have learned to speak for myself and for other girls. I can break my barriers and make my own future. I can connect with anyone or anywhere around the world.”
MOJUBAOLU FROM NIGERIA
Mojúbàolú, deeply ingrained in education, teaches students in Brooklyn, New York City, about human rights and politics. When she is not in the classroom, she is helping lead the Bring Back Our Girls campaign in New York to continue to push the Nigerian government to rescue the abducted Chibok girls from Boko Haram.
She said: “Guaranteed equal and equitable access to excellent education, especially for girls, builds a better world and a glorious future. Excellent education should be a right available to every child.
“It’s an investment in the future. It supports human and national security. I’m from Nigeria, which has the most out-of-school children in the world (over 10 million). I call on Nigeria’s government to actualise its Education for All commitment. Let’s make all schools safe havens where children can joyfully learn, thrive and grow.”
Caroline Harbs and Giacomo Bauer passionately shared their hopes and understanding of future needs in financing education.
CAROLINE FROM BRAZIL
Caroline, who recently moved to New York from Brazil, is a chef specialising in Italian cuisine and believes that without her schooling and training, she would not have been able to come so far away from home to pursue her dream.
She has been an active global citizen, volunteering both in her home in Rio and in New York.
She said: “Education is the pillar of a society. Countries where you’ve excellent education, people have better jobs and even the women are more valuable in the society’s eyes.
“I believe we should fight for that and make sure all children, including the girls especially, have those opportunities, and schools in the future would treat boys and girls equally, without discrimination, so girls in the future can have better chances of achieving their dreams and at some point we’ll have a better world for us all.”
GIACOMO FROM ITALY/GERMANY
Giacomo, originating from Germany and Italy, spent the past year studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and will continue his studies in England. Giacomo realises the importance of education and how it creates a better job market down the road.
He said: “Education is supposed to allow individuals to grow towards being more knowledgeable and enlightened beings as well as be viable to participate in the job market.
“Any education should aim to develop skills in students that they require to fulfill their dreams. Through creating ways for students to gain intrinsic motivation and learn how to express themselves education can create paths for individuals to grow.”
As for myself, when I was a young girl my schooling taught me that I could be a leader inside the classroom and beyond. It has provided a safe space to raise my voice and advocate for what I believe in.
Now I no longer think about my gender or the gender of those around me as a limit to what I can accomplish. I am equipped with these skills that can transfer into my career and I can control my future.
My ideal school of the future would prepare a new generation of leaders, regardless of sex, by ensuring 12 years of quality, financed education to every boy AND girl. An educated girl can change the world, but we need to invest in her future.
Moments like these, where we can meet in person, in any city around the world, and discuss our dreams and passions for education can act as a reminder of what it truly means to be a global citizen.
It reminded me that there is always more power in sharing your voice and vision than you think. I am thankful that the Education Commission opened the opportunity for youths to do so, and hope that some of these video contributions will be effective in shaping the financing agenda for education.