Restless Development volunteer Nazzy isn't the Queen, but tries her version of a New Year's Address: on how young people have achieved change in 2014, and why they have to be at the front of answering 2015's two big global questions. You can find out more about Restless Development's campaigning in the UK and how to get involved at: http://restlessdevelopment....
Hi, I’m Nazzy. I’m not the Queen, my living room here in Halifax isn’t Buckingham Palace, and I’m not a CEO …..yet. But I thought I’d have a go at recording something like a Christmas Day Message or New Year’s Address, speaking as just one young person volunteering with Restless Development, seeing as we basically run the place anyway.
I say that not just because we make up over half the world’s population and so we *should* to be involved in the decisions that affect us, but because we’ve all seen how young people are changing the world already, from big revolutions to small acts of citizenship and creativity - and that’s been the story of the year.
For me, 2014 opened my eyes to the opportunities for young people to get our voices heard. I hadn’t really understood how I had a role here in the UK until I’d volunteered together with young Restless volunteers from Nepal on the International Citizen Service. The young people who I met, especially the girls, inspired me to make sure more young voices are heard on issues like girls’ rights, education, and climate change.
I love the fact that all the young people who’ve worked with Restless feel like a global community, and we can all be proud of what we’ve achieved together in 2014:
Like in Sierra Leone where, when the terror of Ebola first arrived, months before the rest of the world woke up, Restless young people answered the text, cycled out to their communities, and tackled Ebola with the bravery and trust only young people could bring.
In the UK - when politicians looked like they might break their promise to protect overseas aid just by not showing up to a vote (to be fair, they were being asked to come to work on a Friday!) So we tweeted, lobbied, made video montages, and took them on rickshaw rides to tell them about our new friends overseas and what we were achieving together through youth-led development. And we forced them to Turn Up and Save Lives by approving the International Development Bill.
My biggest inspiration this year has been Malala, her bravery and passion for giving every child the opportunity to go to school, and the way she has inspired love and support from so many young people across the world. When she finished her incredible 2014 by collecting the Nobel Peace Prize, in her speech she was already looking forward to the next challenge, telling world leaders: “2015 must be the year the world wakes up and delivers a safer, more just future for children and young people.”
Everyone always makes New Year’s resolutions they don’t keep, and everyone always says the next year will be bigger and more important, but 2015 really will be massive! This year, the world will have to make two huge decisions: what are our next development goals going to be? And how are we going to prevent catastrophic climate change?
Basically it’s the deadline for the United Nations to set a global ‘to do list’ for ending poverty, building equality and protecting our fragile planet. That’s why I’m personally most excited about getting involved in the Action 2015 campaign which Restless is coordinating alongside Malala, calling for the world to be ambitious when answering those two questions this year.
This year those young Sierra Leoneans are going to start winning the battle against Ebola - we need to show the world that young people are the best hope for change in their own countries.
This year, the UK will have an election where people will say young people don’t care about anything, let alone making the world a fairer place - we need to prove them wrong.
And across the world, this year we’ll get lots of people telling us that young people are the ‘hope for tomorrow’. But we need to show them how we are about change today: poverty, inequality, disease and climate change are with us right now, but they don’t have to be, and in 2015 I’m really excited about us taking them on together.