Youth have a voice: Excerpts from Voices of Youth

Avatar Attorney. Project Manager. Child Rights Advocate. Youth Development Consultant. SDG Advocate. Mentor.
Chima F. Madu
Se registró el día 22 de junio de 2013
  • 28 Artículos
  • Edad 30

Are you one of those who think youth have no voice? Are you someone who believes that teenagers have no say in making this world a better place? If you are, then you must be mistaken and need a change of heart. Voices of Youth is a unique platform where young people have the liberty to learn more, do more, say more and discuss more about anything and everything. I have read and shared lots of posts on this platform, but most importantly I have learnt a lot. I would love to use this post to quote some of the inspiring, pensive expressions of young people on this network in order to emphasize how youth need to be progressively incorporated at all levels of development and given a chance to do more. In the words of 16 year old Lia Johanssen, joint winner of the UNICEF Voices of Youth blogging competition, “I'm tired of being talked at. Let's make this a conversation.

Below are some thought provoking pieces written by youth:

With this post, I just want to tell you and make you realize that success can’t be measured by anyone else. The divide of success, such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd or Gold, Silver and Bronze is just the formality of people's achievements. Every person in this world, absolutely have their own dreams and ways to get success. Being the best in a community or some institutions doesn’t mean someone can be the best in the other places even though you can be the best as well. We have our own special part and role to play. So, when we can unite to make something better for many people, that’s success for me.”- Aulia Maharani Kali. (20) Indonesia. (

Each and every a child born is special, which includes children born with any complication or disorder. Everyone has a right to have a proper childhood. If you know what I mean, like proper studies and healthcare. Put all that aside and what a child really needs is love to grow and be healthy. This is where parents come and play their part. Being a parent for a child with autism or any other disorder is very challenging there is no doubt about that, but if there is a will, there is a way. Parents should shower kids with love and should have loads of patience. Parents should never look down on their kids' potential and should never be ashamed to have kids with complications. Society should also be more open-minded and should come forward to help out their kids. After all, that is what makes us humans at the end of the day”- Priyangka John Jayaraj. (20) Malaysia (

I just want to make it clear that your presence and everything that you do matters for many people. Don’t underestimate yourself, and moreover, don’t give up so easily. Take a deep breath and notice that sometimes your greatest enemy lies deep down in yourself. Don’t be afraid to always produce the masterpiece version of yourself, because by appreciating yourself, you sure can put yourself to the best.”- Emilia Siahaan. (19) Indonesia.(

Don’t wait for something to happen or somebody to kick off a small hustle for you. If you keep waiting, I’m afraid you shall wait forever. Instead, indulge into that small thing you might despise. Deep down inside you know that the small thing you despise might be the foundation to your big break. Once you are in it, humble yourself, be patient, persistent, honest in the context of your work and most importantly, put God first.”- Newton Ochieng Oduor. (22) Kenya. (

Every youth out there should be able to stand and take certain decisions as it relates to life and career. Everyone around you has a plan for you and if you run along with what everyone wants you to be, you would be like chaff which the wind would drive in any direction it so pleases. Sometimes, you need to serve to be served and until that is fulfilled, succeeding could be difficult but in all, there is nothing as good as being your own boss.”- Opasho Olukemi Titilope. (23). Nigeria (

Get things done! Stop with your personal vendettas and think about your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren...would you want them to live amidst war. So, if you are an international leader and happen to be reading this, consider this a firm challenge to your actions. Consider this as a civic plea to end wars if not for peace than for the safety of our children.”- Kriyana Reddy.(

But I always think: If I don't do my part to change, who will? See, people are discouraged about politics and education in Brazil. They always say Brazil is hopeless, but I know there is a way. For everything there is a way, just death is hopeless. I know what I lived through and I want to change it somehow.”- Bianca de Oliveira. Brazil. (

What event(s) do you see in your lifetime that have helped you feel positive about the future of your world? I would respectfully suggest the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the #1 example. Started at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, the member states unanimously agreed to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015..... Envision what your world would be like without extreme poverty. It really can happen and your generation has an important role to play in achieving it. You need to be part of the solution to eliminate this evil from society. Use your education to broaden your perspective on global issues and be part of the solution to global problems. Help bring human dignity to the masses of impoverished people and eliminate much of the cause of conflict in your world. Be the first generation to show what it means to be a global citizen.”- Wayne (

When something works, there is no need to fix it. Youth innovation has always been the formula, so let us stick to that. But let us make it grow, let us nourish it and give the youth from all over the world the opportunity to change the world. And once we do that, we should impart onto them the importance of cycles. Doors have been opened for them, but they also need to open doors for others, including the younger generation and so on and so forth…. If one would empower the youth simply to "tap" them dry, then we would be building a society of dependence. We would be empowering them simply to take advantage of them. The old adage "give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish, feed him for a lifetime" comes to mind here.”- Christopher Onoka. (19) Kenya.(

Teenagers carry tomorrow on their shoulders, bearing the problems their parents left them. But business is still something that happens among adults with the finished product presented to us on a silver platter. When we are so disconnected from the process our things go through to get to us, it becomes less about the supply of goods and service, and more about indoctrinating the youth.”- Lia Johanssen Villanueva. (

All the above excerpts and many other pieces written by youth really inspired me last year and will keep inspiring me in the future. I believe they inspired lots of people who read them too. I was really amazed at some brilliant pieces written by teenagers. Young people do have a voice, an important voice, an inspiring voice. Youth have a hopeful voice that should always be listened to.

comments powered by Disqus