Youth Faces of the World

A street scene at dusk

When I joined VOY years ago, I was 17, and still in High School. I had a very regular life: I used to wake up, go to school, come back home, study, sleep and repeat. I used to live in my own shell focused on my own life problems, like how to have a good social life or get better grades at school. On weekends, I would spend time with my family and then go back to that routine on Monday.

Then gradually everything changed. I got back the voice I lost, the light that faded, and since then there has been no stopping. I broke the walls I built around myself. I started to write, then speak out about issues I care about. I moved to actively doing projects, and to empowering other youth to do the same. I used to have 3 friends at school, now I work with young people all around the world. There is a big difference between the girl I was years ago to what I have become and I believe that my journey has just started. In terms of personal reflections and growth, I cannot even imagine that I was capable of doing things I am doing right now. I view the world from a totally different lens, and in totally different shades.

I saw many kids in wars dying, my neighbor who is the same as age as me dying from a genetic disease, people on the streets carrying the story of their lives with a smile, my friend who has been affected by a typhoon, another one fighting cancer with tremendous courage, or even a classmate of mine dealing with breakups and self-esteem issues. Each one of them has a story to share, and I decided to use social media to write about these hidden young heroes and showcase their stories. Content does not matter, it can be a funny, inspiring, brave, success or failure story- each one is powerful and unique. People are art. I call my work: Youth Faces of the world. Every time I read a story, I feel uplifted and inspired. Storytelling has the power to transform our mind, change or shape our point of view, break stereotypes, promote love and positive vibes, and remind each and everyone that we all are connected - simply by being human.

"To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically" - Neil Tyson.

Giving back to the world - To all those who work in silence behind the scenes, who electrify the world with their kindness and the hidden heroes with deep wounds. To youth whose ideas are rejected, but despite the age shaming are working day and night to support causes they believe in. To those who spread love and not stigma, fight the battles so that we do not need to fight them, are fallen warriors or fighting cancer battles and survivors. To the hero inside you, to all the SHEroes who do not wear capes and masks, to those change makers and world builders with no media attention, to those who had to give up their lives for a cause and so that justice is served, to (you)th and to you all, I salute you.

Words are not enough to describe the beauty of people.