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“We Are Game-Changers”: Grade 10 ICS Students Work with UNICEF to Inspire Global Change

During our time at home earlier this school year, Secondary students Fátima, Norah and Amélie worked collaboratively to send a message to their peers around the world. UNICEF was so impressed by the project that they showed their video at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this summer. In addition, the organization also reached out to Fátima, Norah and Amélie this September, asking them to be external consultants on an upcoming campaign for World Children’s Day.

World Children's Day student presentations Fatima speech
Fátima, Amélie and Norah also spoke to ICS students at an event for World Children's Day 2019

 

These Grade 10 students wanted to empower young people’s role in building a more sustainable future. By highlighting the unprecedented events of our time, they conveyed a sense of collective urgency needed to solve UNICEF’s Sustainable Development Goals.

We are extremely proud of what our students have accomplished, and caught up with them to find out more about how they are challenging young people everywhere to reimagine the future.

Tell us about how you got the idea for your video and how current events influenced this project.

Fátima, Norah and Amélie: Young generations are more and more interested in social justice and making a change. Within every generation, we’ve become more conscious on the impact we have on the environment and people’s lives. However, expressing our opinion and truly making a change is often difficult. As a result, when we were given the opportunity to make a video for NAE we were very excited. We have specific ideas and points of views, and this activity gave us the opportunity to get our message across.

 

The main idea of the video was to highlight one of the most important lessons quarantining taught us; things can change. Extraordinary events, crisis and instability are often needed to impulse that change, but it is possible. And it is only achieved when we are all focused on the same priority. In the video we talk directly to teenagers like us who were in our same situation. Caught in the middle of a lockdown, tired of the listening to the news, missing our friends. And in between all that drama, we wanted to find a way to push teenagers out of their habits and do something for the changes they wish to see, either in the arts, sports, even politics. As the world changes, we change with it.

globe external consultants UNICEF world Children's day grade 10

What was the experience of creating the video like, especially since we were all quarantined at the time?

Creating the video was extremely inspiring. COVID and quarantining definitely gave us things to think about, and structuring such thoughts into something that people could engage with and relate to – and hopefully act upon – was a great opportunity we are thankful to have had. In the end, we understand that taking advantage of this life-changing crisis to change people’s mindset is essential to make it possible to bring about the change the system needs. And we were part of that.

 

How do you feel about consulting with UNICEF on their upcoming campaign? Who have you met and what has this experience been like? What impact do you expect the campaign to have when it comes out?

This video truly made us feel motivated that our voices are heard. But most importantly, that hard work and passion truly pays off. The video went further than we could have ever imagined, to the extent that not only United Nations’ High Level Political Forum Leaders watched it, but that UNICEF contacted us again to work hands-on in their next campaign. Having privileged information on what an organization like UNICEF is doing in real-life time was exciting for us. We were able to give our opinion on three different video proposals for World Children’s Day, making us feel like the voice of today’s youths is increasingly being heard.

We are very looking forward to the release of the campaign as from the prompts we were able to review, there are very interesting elements regarding COVID, empowerment and taking action. These are all essential for our role in shaping the world we want to wake up in tomorrow.

 

What other thoughts do you have about the opportunities that you’ve had with the UN and UNICEF this year?

We feel grateful and excited for this project. We truly believe that this is an example of the type of opportunities children like us should aspire to, assuming our role in society to speak up for the silenced and empower other teenagers to do the same. To take the necessary steps in whatever field they are interested in and start changing the game. We are game-changers. Our generation is special, we were born in a connected and globalized reality, and once having the world at our feet, the only thing that’s left to do is take the lead and make things happen.

Grade 10 girls globe library consultant UNICEF

What are your top tips to students your own age who want to make a difference in the world?

In the first place, it is important to clarify that you can have a double personality. What we mean by that is that being a child or a teenager these days is not just about hanging out with friends but also knowing and wanting to change what is going on in the world. We are a lot more informed, conscious and hungry to see a fairer and better version of reality. And the best part if that we can do it from absolutely every field we might be interested in. The trick is really pushing one step forward in the music we compose, the recipes we cook, the videogames we play. Scaling what we are passionate about one level up to match the ever-changing world we live in to truly make our generation the top of the top in medicine, justice, dance… every aspect of life. And once we start to pour our hearts into everything we do, the rest will come on its own.

The second thing we would like to remind our peers is that changing the world often sounds very cliché, or institutional. Social justice seems to have too many technical words, and the phrase “small steps lead to big change” is overused. So don’t get distracted with such wrong idea of making a difference. See it rather as the opportunity and potential we all have to make ourselves – and the world – the best versions we can be. And to be honest, if we can, who wouldn’t want to change the world?

 

Many thanks to Fátima, Norah and Amélie for speaking to us! Don't forget to watch the video that they created earlier this year.