Society tells us that kids or young people are selfish and impulsive, that their power and self determination has to be limited for their own protection. What the kids said years ago are still relevant today and tomorrow. ‘What can adults learn from kids?’ The answer is quite a lot.
This collection of speeches by extraordinary young people is testament to what can be achieved by the next generation. From climate change to disability rights, these are children and young adults proving that, regardless of age, when we dare to care and speak out, grownups in power take note, and can even learn a thing or two.
Joan of Arc: French Heroine Who Fought During The Hundred Years’ War
As a teenage peasant girl living in medieval France, Joan of Arc began to hear voices she believed to be those of angels and of God. The voices instructed her to fight for the French king, Charles VII, during the Hundred Years’ War. Adopting men’s dress, she demanded to meet with military leaders such as the Duke of Lorraine and eventually Charles VII himself. Her persistence and conviction won her their trust. At the time, the French army was also in desperate straits. Perhaps the fact that so many other options had been exhausted and failed made Charles VII more open to the unorthodox choice of allowing a woman and a young, poor one at that to lead his troops.
Joseph Kim: North korean-american human rights activist
Joseph Kim grew up in utter deprivation, living in impoverished conditions during the North Korean famine of the mid-1990s. North Korea’s isolation and secrecy make it impossible to know the precise number of casualties due to starvation, but estimates range from a few hundred thousand to over one million. Joseph’s father was one of those casualties.
When Joseph was just sixteen years old, he made the decision to attempt an illegal – and highly dangerous – escape from the infamously oppressive Hermit Kingdom.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki: Environmental Activist
When she was only twelve years old, Canadian climate change activists Severn Cullis Suzuki delivered a brave message to an audience at the United Nations. In her speech, she said that many of the world’s most privileged countries have failed to do their part in solving the climate crisis and providing assistance to the impoverished.
Now, more than two decades on from her 1992 speech, the recording of her talk still makes the rounds on social media as a viral video entitled ‘The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes’. Her message, which illustrates in bleak terms the consequences of failing to solve climate issues, has struck a chord with modern listeners.
Malala Yousafzai: Nobel Prize Winner And Education Advocate
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for peace and human rights, particularly passionate about equal access to education for women and girls. Although Malala had been an activist for years, writing for a BBC blog as early as 2009, it was in October 2012 that people around the world first learned her name. A Taliban gunman shot her on a school bus in a retaliatory attack over her public writings on education and life in Pakistan’s Swat Valley during instability caused by clashes between the forces of the Taliban and the Pakistani military. Worldwide condemnation of the violent action followed and Malala was transferred to a UK hospital for medical care.
Adenike Titilope Oladosu (born 1994) is a Nigerian climate activist, eco-feminist and the initiator of the Fridays For Future movement in Nigeria. She specialises in equality, security and peace building across Africa, especially in the Lake Chad region.
She was recognised as one of the three young black activists in Africa trying to combat climate chan-ge alongside Vanessa Nakate and Elizabeth Wathuti by Greenpeace UK for the UK Black History Month and in December 2019, Oladosu attended the COP25 gathering in Spain as a Nigerian youth delegate where she gave a “moving address” about climate change in Africa and how it affects lives.
Oladosu began organizing for climate activism after she started university. She saw farmers and herdsmen angry because their land was becoming more arid and other communities who had never faced flooding had their farmlands swept away. She began advocating in communities, schools, and public places to speak to people about the climate crisis. She encouraged them to plant trees and educate their peers.
In 2019, Oladosu was the recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty Interna-tional Nigeria and she spoke to world leaders at the UN youth climate summit. She attended the 2019 Climate change conference in Mad-rid along with Greta Thun-berg where she drew the attention of world leaders towards the Nigerian and African climate movements
Hadiqa Bashir: Activist Against Child Marriage
An activist from Pakistan, has been raising awareness in her community and around the world about the negative effects of child marriage. Hadiqa herself suffered pressure from her grandmother to marry at the age of eleven, only narrowly avoiding this thanks to support from a sympathetic uncle, the rights activist Erfaan Hussein Babak. Her grandmother was furious and the disagreement led to a months-long estrangement between them but it did not dissuade Hadiqa from her next move: campaigning to ensure that no girl would have to go through such a situation ever again.
A UNICEF-Climate Youth Ambassador and a proud Zimbabwean and African youth under the Zimbabwe Youth Council.
Welcome to Victoria Falls. It is also home to the magnificent Victoria Falls or in our local Lozi language, Mosi-oa-tunya which means the ‘Smoke that Thunders.’
He grew up in Chinotimba township in poverty, with everybody struggling all around him. He noticed something that affected the poverty of his community, family and friends, just as much as all the economic and social problems and the political issues they face in his country.
According to him, “It was the environment! Our natural world around us, our atmosphere and our biodiversity.
We are experiencing the worst drought, right here in my backyard, in 100 years. I live it. My family lives it. Farmers have had little harvest for years now. When it doesn’t rain we suffer. And now when it does rain, it floods and we suffer.”
Sparsh Shah: Disability Rights Activist:
Sparsh Shah, who also shares his music under the name Purhythm, is an American disability rights advocate, motivational speaker and musician. He derived the name ‘Purhythm’ from combining the words ‘pure’ and ‘rhythm’ because he describes his rap as family-friendly (pure) and also rhythmic. He has more than 300,000 followers on YouTube, and his cover of Eminem’s song, ‘Not Afraid’, has received more than 14 million views, even drawing the attention of Eminem’s record label, Shady records, who tweeted about him after the video went viral on YouTube.
Bana Alabed: Education And Human Rights Advocate, Syrian Refugee
A young survivor of the Syrian Civil War, a conflict that has killed civilians, uprooted families, and caused fear and instability throughout the region. She garnered public attention around the world through a Twitter account she maintained through the 2016 bombing and siege of the city of Aleppo; the horrors of war gained special poignancy when communicated thro-ugh the eyes of a seven year-old girl.
After her school was destroyed and her father was injured in the siege, her family joined other civilians in fleeing the war-torn city; ultimately seeking refuge in Turkey.
Born 2008 is a South African climate activist from Cape Town.
Mgogwana’s activism started in 2019, when she was just eleven years old, after she became concerned about pollution, unusual weather patterns, and a looming water crisis in her country. She has been an inspiration for youth in Africa to join her in her fight for climate justice. She has been hailed as South Africa’s answer to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Mgogwana is a student at Yolomela Primary School in Khayelitsha, one of Cape Town’s most impoverished townships. Her environmental educator is Xoli Fuyani, who is both a mentor and a key collaborator in her work, and is also the Environmental Education Coordinator at the Earthchild Project, a non-profit organization Mgogwana is connected with.
Mgogwana has been an active presenter in schools and has repeatedly urged the Government to take urgent action on climate change.
‘A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its own lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to death.’
Firm Partners Parents Association On Education Plan
Leadway Assurance has partnered with the Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS) to launch an education insurance policy plan tagged the ‘Group Education Protection Plan (GEPP)’.
The bespoke education plan, which was launched at the Children’s Day event hosted at Eliud International School in Port Harcourt on Thursday, May 27, 2021, is designed to help parents protect their children’s future from possible socio-economic disruption in schooling due to unplanned or unforeseen events, such as the death of a parent or guardian, life threatening critical illness, total and permanent disability resulting from personal accidents.
With this partnership, the parents are guaranteed the fulfilment of bequeathing their children quality and life-defining education, no matter what life throws at them.
This unique alliance mandates Leadway Assurance to assume the payment of the children’s fees for the agreed remaining school terms from the point the sponsoring parent or guardian dies or contracts a critical illness or disability.
Speaking on the initiative, Head of Life Retail, Leadway Assurance, Bolorunduro Saliu, said, “This policy reflects the organisation’s proactive steps towards mitigating the risk parents face of failing to achieve their dream of bequeathing quality education to their children due to circumstances that are beyond their control, especially death or permanent disability.
“We are pleased to work with a forward-looking association that is keen to proactively take smart financial decisions for their children’s assured future.
Our partnership with APPSS provides every parent under the association the assurance that, should the most unnerving life situation occur, there is guaranteed peace of mind regarding the completion of your child’s education”, he added.
He further stated, “The intention of this policy is to have a solution that protects the parents which in turn protects the education of their children in case of any eventuality. This product is designed to provide an actionable and affordable solution to ensuring that our children, being the future of the society, have proactive measures put in place to ensure that their journey to greatness was not halted abruptly.”
Also, commenting on the partnership, National President, Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS), Dr Ovy Chukwuma, said, “Leadway Assurance has magnanimously created this programme at a very affordable premium and high sum, assured to cater for the payment of fees for children in private schools nationwide from Nursery to Secondary Levels.
The programme is designed to be driven by our Children Education Promotion and Protection Ambassadors (CEPPA), a project to provide parents, schools, and society at large an opportunity to be involved in the process of quality children education delivery in the country”, he added.
The GEPP partnership was officially inaugurated on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, commemorating this year’s Children’s Day.
Leadway Assurance is one of Nigeria’s foremost insurance service companies with a reputation for service efficiency and customer reliability.
The organisation is committed to providing innovative ways to equip every Nigerian with the tools needed to mitigate risks whilst adopting insurance as a top choice for wealth creation.
‘Your Reaction Matters More Than What Happens To You’
Once a time, a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a reknown chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the boiled eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. ‘Daughter, what do you see?’
‘Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,’ she hastily replied.
‘Look closer,’ he said, ‘and touch the potatoes.’ She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
‘Father, what does this mean?’ she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
‘Which are you,’ he asked his daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?’
Why Youths Must Pay A Price For Success
Youths today desire to be like Daniel in the Bible, but they are not ready to pay the price in order to earn a reward.Daniel in the Bible was a successful, wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, consecrated, and a committed person.The Bible records that he was 10 times better than others.
Today, parents name their children, Daniel because of the divine and excellent spirit in him and the way he was successful.We try to be like those who have excelled but we are not ready to do what they did before they succeeded ,we are not ready to pay the price for success.
Life is wonderful but the world itself is “colourful”.
Today, the acronym, “This World No Balance” turns to be a popular slogan of many youths today.They feel relaxing,weak,and tired. When they try and fail, they never try to continue or to keep moving forward,they are discouraged and taken off balance because of little trials, failure, etc.
They forget about the story of Ben Carson who was buried in failure and dullness in his school days,but now he is one of the best medical doctors we have,and they also forget about the story of Michael Faraday who failed 999 times just to bring about the existence of electricity in the world,but he was not shaken, discouraged or stopped trying.
His aspiration, inspiration, dreams and zeal never dried up or died in him,but he consistently persevered and strived to attain to achieve his purpose and goal.
Today,youths shouldn’t just sit back and complain about their backgrounds,level of education, psychological capabilities and abilities,we should not forget that Daniel was a slave but yet was found victorious.Joseph was a slave before he became the Prime Minister in Egypt.We should just try our best,read our books,go for predominant skill acquisition,engage in meaningful things,we should strive, persevere,aspire,inspire and have the zeal for success and goal oriented .We should fight back with success when life offers us failure, fight back with victory when life offers us defeat,and we should fight back with positive when life offers us negative.Then I believe with all these at heart ,the popular slogan will change from “A Disbalance Life To A Balance Life”.
As youths,we should remember that no good thing comes easily,and no good thing comes without paying a price.If youths today can chant their perspectives and believe,then success will be sure and secured for youths and failure will be a thing of the past.Youths today can be successful like David, Job,Joseph, Michael Faraday,Ben Carson and other successful men and women in the world.
See You at throne Of Success!!
By: Wisdom God’swork
God’swork is a student of Community Secondary School,
Kalio-Ama, Okrika LGA, Rivers State.
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