They believe that every adolescent girl, woman and child has the right to be healthy and to live a life free of discrimination.
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We are all learning to find our voices and we are all advocates for a cause, whether or not we realize it. So take up space, and raise your voice. If you don't know what to say, then sing, dance, or build something. Find a way to tell your story.
Plan International Canada
I wasn't doing my kids any favours by handling everything, and I knew I had to let the kids take some of the responsibility. Even though they were only 6 and 7 then, I started to share everything I knew and everything I did in the name of safe eating for Celiacs and allergies, and as time passed, they started to take over for themselves.
Many people acknowledge youth to be the leaders of tomorrow and understand that we are the voices of the future; however, this International Youth Day, the world must recognize that youth leadership is also key to tackling the biggest issues facing the world today.
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Partnering with men and boys involves helping them develop a healthy, non-violent, and respectful outlook towards themselves and their relationships, and models of manliness where they are equals amongst their peers. Engaging boys and adolescents in the process at all levels is also key to empowering a generation of young people with the capacity to claim their own rights and respect those of everyone around them.
Plan International Canada
Attending a G20 meeting is a rare opportunity for a teenage girl. It's an honour to be at an event where decisions are made that affect our entire planet and to have the chance to meet key decision makers. At every chance, I'm making sure to talk about the next generation's issues.
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The painful fact is the first thing to be compromised during a humanitarian emergency is the integrity of girls' rights. The everyday realities of many adolescent girls -- which often include early marriage, discrimination and lack of access to education -- are made far worse in the wake of a major disaster.
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Some 30,000 young Canadians ages 16 to 24 are homeless at any given time. If you're young and also dealing with abuse, addiction, a broken family or mental illness, finding your way is an immensely tough trek. Art is an accessible way to confront those seemingly impossible challenges.
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What happens to kids when the pressure starts to build? They can begin to feel powerless over their choices, their identities, and their futures. They can start to feel as though they have no voice, and no input over their own lives.
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What astounds us is that, despite everything he saw and endured during the apartheid years, Tutu remains one of the most joyful human beings we know. A laugh is never far from his lips. When music plays, he is the first on his feet dancing. We can only attribute this to his mastery of the art of forgiveness. Tutu's soul remains unburdened by anger and vindictiveness.
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Malala Yousafzai has recovered to become a crusader for universal education. Less often do we hear about Ziauddin -- or "Zia", as he is affectionately known -- who was the family's first crusader. He is his daughter's greatest champion and confidant.
If there were such a thing as a rock star politician, the man known affectionately around the globe as "Madiba" is one. Today's youngest generation did not witness his historic struggle, release or election. Yet they know his extraordinary messages of equality, hope and forgiveness. And they are ready to receive his torch.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend the 4th session of the UN Open Working Groups (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals in New York as a delegate of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA), member of the Major Group of Children and Youth.
Students at Lincoln High, an inner-city school in Tacoma, Washington, banded together to support their peers; but their efforts extended beyond the schoolyard, to global service actions.
They are in the midst of a penny drive to support a local homeless shelter.
The Archbishop is a South African social rights activist. He rose to worldwide prominence in the 1980s as a staunch opponent of his country's policy of apartheid. He was also the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town. His irrepressible spirit is particularly awe-inspiring when you consider the South Africa from which he emerged.
Robb Nash was hit by a truck the winter he was 17. The collision stripped the roof off of the car he was in and knocked him onto the highway, where he cracked his skull. He remained unconscious until the following spring. Now, 16 years later, he offers this advice: "Don't wait to get hit by a semi" to start living with purpose.
In the course of my work at Plan I see so many young people with great potential of their own who have so few opportunities to explore or express it. Still, they bravely persist in striving to make their mark on the world, even in contexts of deprivation and conflict. Programs like Girls Making Media and International Youth Day, youth are changing the world.