The Rise Of Youth Activists II

Hope is hard to come by, and even harder to believe in, when one’s existence is surrounded with violence, chaos, inequality and injustice. And yet, what lends ‘hope’ a quality that makes it almost magical that you find it when you need it the most, and least expect it. Children are more powerful, more sensitive, and more responsible than we give them credit for. Their simple minds and ways of being are more capable of possessing hope than adults. Here are five outstanding youth activists from over the world who’ve brought about hope, and change for their communities and the world, by deciding to take a stand, and by following it up through determined action. 

Bana Alabed, Syria

She is one of the hundreds of children from Syria who have lost their childhoods to the continuing civil war. In 2016, eight-year-old Bana took to Twitter to broadcast what it was like to be a child in Aleppo amidst the siege and the violence. Her family could eventually escape to Turkey, and Bana transcribed her experiences in Syria into a book titled, “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace, which was released in October 2017. Her narrative is important, because it is the voice of not just all the Syrian children, but also for all the children all over the world who continue to be affected by wars, and who have lost their lives to wars. At eight, she is perhaps one of the youngest peace activists.
Read more here.

Nujood Ali, Yemen

When she was just nine years old, Nujood’s father got her married to man aged thirty, who was willing to pay for her a bride price of somewhere around rupees fifty thousand. While the man had promised her father he wouldn’t touch her until she attained puberty, he raped Nujood on the night of the marriage. The violence and abuse continued, until Nujood, a year later – ten at that time, decided that she had had enough. She went to a courthouse all on her own and found a lawyer who was willing to listen to her, and fight her case. A few weeks later, she won the case, becoming probably the ‘youngest divorcee in the world’ and an international symbol for courage and hope. Today, she is a leading figure in Yemen’s fight against forced marriage and child marriage.
Read more here.

Om Prakash Gujjar, India

To pay off the debt his father owed to his landlord, Om Prakash and his family members were obliged to serve as bonded laborers under him. He was five years old at the time. It was only three years later, when the activists from the Bachpan Bachao Andolan – a campaign against child labour, visited his village that he realized, he too had rights, and above all the right to education. After a long struggle, the activists managed to free him from being a bonded laborer and Om Prakash was sent to school. Since then, he has helped free many children in his village from child labour and has had them enrolled in school. He was awarded the Child Peace Prize in 2006.
Read more here.

Alejandra, Guatemala

Our network empowers girls so that they can ignite change in their communities”. This seventeen year old girl, is an advocate for “Let Girls Lead – Rise Up”, a campaign to address girls’ education, sexual violence and street harassment in Guatemala. The campaign uses radio as a medium to empower young leaders and local organizations. With a network of 25 other girl leaders, she also organizes workshops in schools to discuss about violence prevention.Soon they hope to organize community theatre to create awareness regarding they issues they are working towards.
Read more here.

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, United States Of America

He gave his first speech against global warming when he was just six years old. In 2013, he served on President Obama’s Youth Council. He is also one of the 21 children to sue the federal government and Donald Trump for their lack of action regarding climate change. A firebrand climate change activist, Xiuhtezcatl is the youth director of Earth Guardians, and has given a speech on climate change at the United Nations General Assembly and the Rio +20 United Nations. “…our greed and ways of living are destroying our planet for the profit of this generation,” he says.
Read more here.

For Part 1 of Rise of Youth Activists, read here.

Photo Credits : Stephanie Sinclair/Too Young To Wed

Words By : Leher

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