Young people have had some bad press over the past year and a half due to the pandemic. And we believe that it’s time to be positive about this generation, understand their frustrations and celebrate their achievements.
Whilst young people (in their early teens and early adulthood) are the ones who were most blamed for not following rules, they are also the worst hit socially and economically according to the Health Foundation. The majority have made sacrifices that have impacted their ‘best years’ for making friends and exploring, and lost out on key educational and employment opportunities. Young people’s mental health during lockdown has also suffered, as young Minds reporting that 67% of young people feel the pandemic will have a long term impact on their mental health.
We want to take this opportunity on International Youth Day to bring some positivity and spread some good news! So here are some of our favourite examples of young people making a difference:
Sandra Grzelaszyk, 26
Sandra campaigns for women’s rights, their rights for abortion and spreading awareness and education about sexual consent. During the pandemic Sandra and other activists decided to move the protest online on social media when a strict abortion bill banning abortions cases of “severe and irreversible foetal abnormalities”. Thanks to their campaign which got people involved and comfortable about expressing themselves, 80,000 people signed the petition against the imposed law.
As the pandemic hit Huzair campaigned for street dogs in Pakistan who were going hungry, as hospitality shut and people stayed indoors. By making a video alongside UNICEF with his dog Charlie, he campaigned to spread awareness and encourage people to feed the dogs with any spare food they had.
Heidy Quah, 26
Heidy founded ‘Refuge for the Refugees’ which helps refugee children, during the pandemic she provided refugee families with essentials whilst the government put migrants in detention centres claiming to prevent the spread of the virus. She campaigned to raise awareness of the poor conditions these families were kept in despite being faced with death threats and online abuse.
Fin Spalding, 21
Fin is a national LGBTIQ leader of Amnesty Australia’s National Youth Advisory Group, he has spent many of his young years challenging homophobic injustice and led the group’s strategy to defend LGBTIQ rights. During the pandemic, he started creating an ‘Artivism’ campaign online, which will promote work by LGBTIQ artists helping to raise awareness of their struggles and bring their voices to the forefront.
Today’s young people are resilient, passionate and forward thinking! So Happy International Youth Day!
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Author: Sara Poidevin-Hill