Think you’re too young to change the world? Think again!
Many young people feel like their voices aren’t heard, that adults ignore them and dismiss their points of view out of hand. They feel they are cut off from all avenues of making positive change, simply because of their age.
But this isn’t the case. Throughout history there have been many cases of young people standing up for what they believe in and making a huge difference. Age is not a barrier to making the world a better place. And the good news is that the internet is empowering young people in a way that wasn’t previously possible. The future is looking rosy.
Do you want to change the world?
As part of the Is It Real? campaign, we want to show you that you can make a difference. For some inspiration, check out this short list of extraordinary young people.
If you are a regular Vivo Edge reader, you will know all about Malala, who topped Vivo’s Teen of the Year 2014. Malala is the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the only teenager to ever be awarded the prestigious accolade.
Malala received the honour in 2014, two years after she was shot on a bus by a Taliban gunman. Malala was attacked because she was standing up for her right to education in a country where the Taliban had banned girls from going to school. Surviving the attack, Malala became a global icon by continuing to stand up for beliefs. She used this global recognition to extend the reach of her campaign.
Louis Braille was an exceptional young man. At the age of 15, he created a system of reading and writing for the blind and the visually impaired that was truly revolutionary. The brilliance of his system was largely unrecognised while Braille was still alive and remained unused for many years after his death. Now the system is known as braille and is used around the world today.
In a time where Louis would normally have received a certain amount of neglect for his disability, his parents raised him as best as they could. Thanks largely to their efforts and Louis’ intelligence, Louis excelled at school. The whole world now benefits from his achievements.
This young girl from America demonstrates that one person can make a difference. Samantha Smith was 10 years old when Yuri Andropov became leader of the Soviet Union in 1982. Tensions were increasing between America and the Soviet Union, and so was the threat of nuclear war. Smith felt uneasy with all of this, and decided to write a letter about ending the hostilities.
Samantha eventually received a reply from Andropov, and her letter was featured in a popular Soviet magazine. Andropov responded that he wanted nothing but peace between the two countries and also invited Samantha to visit the Soviet Union. She took up his offer and her visit created a lot of publicity. This only strengthened relationships, and helped bring the Cold War to an end.
Unfortunately, education is not a right that everybody has. In some parts of the world, giving everybody equal access to education is not a priority. One young girl from Zambia decided that this needed to change.
When Thandiwe was 8 years old, her school was shut down as they didn’t have any teachers. She lead 60 of her classmates on a march, to bring attention to the fact that all children should be allowed an education. The march was a success and her whole class was transferred to another school. After this Thandiwe continued to fight for children’s rights to education. Chama’s efforts have earned her an International Children’s Peace Prize.
To complete this list of intelligent, courageous and inspiring young people, we had to pick Anne Frank. The child who documented the awful oppression of Jewish people under the hard dictatorship of the Nazi party.
Anne Frank remained in hiding for 25 months before being caught by the Nazi’s. During that time, she kept a diary and documented the events up until her capture. She died, aged 15 years old, in March 1945. Her diary, published by her father who survived, has touched the lives of millions of people across the world.
So, what are you going to do to change the world?