August 12 is observed internationally as a day for youth and the issues concerning them. For many youngsters, the world is not easy and they are trying to cope. However, some youth, due to their talent, resilience and in many cases fortunate access to resources, are already making a change in the world. On this day of youth, let us know about the youngsters that are taking on world issues head-on.
Malala Yousafzai: Unlike rich kids born in first-world countries, Yousafzai was not so privileged. She was living in an area of Pakistan where the Taliban had banned girls’ education. Vocal for girls’ right to education, when she became a prominent activist while she was just 15, the Taliban tried to assassinate her and shot her in the head. She was saved, drawing international support for her cause and herself. In 2014, at the age of 17, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Greta Thunberg: Outraged by her government’s negligence of climate change, a Swedish teenager Thunberg, at an age of 15, started protesting in front of the Swedish parliament urging stronger action on the environmental crisis. She sparked an inspiration among youth and brought millions of schoolchildren all over the world to conduct strikes for the climate. Her speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit was immensely popular and she was chosen as Time magazine’s person of the year for 2019.
Gitanjali Rao: At just a young age of 15, Rao was chosen Time magazine’s first-ever kid of the year. A scientist and inventor, Rao has used technology to achieve astonishing things from solving problems related to contaminated water, opioid addiction and cyberbullying. Her mission is to build a worldwide community of young innovators who could solve the problems that excite them.
Marley Dias: Frustrated by the negligible representation of cultural diversity in children’s books, an 11-year-old Dias launched an online campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks in 2015. This campaign collected and donated books that made black girls feel seen.
Jazz Jennings: An American LGBTQ+ rights activist, Jennings is among the youngest publicly documented people that identified being a transgender. Considered a trailblazer, 20-year-old Jennings is the founder of Purple Rainbow Tails, a fashion company that raises money for transgender kids. Jennings’ coming out as transgender shook the discomfort around public self-identification of nonbinary identity.