Young changemakers #withMalala
Submitted on Tue, January 26, 2016
Ashoka’s Youth Venture has teamed up with the Malala Fund to profile stories of young changemakers around the world as part of the Stand #withMalala campaign surrounding the release of the film, HE NAMED ME MALALA.
Ashoka spoke seperately with youth innovators Christine Gatwiri (CG), who founded the Soh Wiki & 1 Bob initiative in Kenya, and the leader of Argentina’s Elenco LaTé, Magali Greisoris (MG).
Here are excerpts for what these young changemakers shared with us...
Youth Venture: “There is a moment where you have to choose, whether to be silent, or stand up,” says Malala. How do you feel when you hear these words?
Christine Gatwiri, Soh Wiki & 1 Bob initiative: It’s true that it is a choice you make of whether to be silent or stand up. While growing up, especially in the African culture, young people and women are encouraged to stay silent rather than stand up especially to their elders. You just had to listen and not always express your opinion on things, so we tend to be silent and let the elders/leaders make decisions for us. This, I think, explains leadership in Africa and other social issues, but with time though and modern norms, we’ve become more aware and responsible for our own choices. Being silent holds one back from expressing themselves and tapping into their potential and learning.
Standing up especially to your beliefs, to societal issues gives one an opportunity to share their ideas, make a difference, create change or simply be heard. I choose to always stand up for myself, for my community so as to have that opportunity to be heard…to bring positive change… and do something without waiting for ‘someone else’ to do it.
I encourage the youth and women especially to stand up and create the future they want now rather than later.
Magali Greisoris, Elenco LaTé: My story is definitely not unique. My story would not have been possible without those who chose and continue to choose the road of solidarity as a way of life. It’s with these people that we create a team, and we organise in a collective manner to defend the right to play and to express oneself…the right for children to have a chance to learn what theatre is, and to give them an opportunity to enjoy culture, to laugh and imagine that a more equal world is possible. During the play, we all live and participate in that imaginary world: economic differences completely lose their importance…they disappear, and what is reborn is the encounter between art and play. Art and play are priceless. They emerge spontaneously without distinction in gender, age, color, or social class. It is pure art, and it is limitless.
Youth Venture: Share 3 words to describe how you feel about the world today. Then share 3 words to describe the state of the world in the future, as you would like to see it.
Magali Greisoris, Elenco LaTé: Today I see the world as: Unjust. Changing. Hopefuly. In the future I would like to see the world as: Just. United. Affective.
Christine Gatwiri, Soh Wiki & 1 Bob initiative: Today: Innovative. Individualistic. Growth. Future: Peaceful. Equitable. Poverty-free.
Youth Venture: There are so many problems in the world. To any young person reading this that has not yet started their changemaker journey, what would you want them to learn and take-away from your personal efforts to be a changemaker?
Christine Gatwiri, Soh Wiki & 1 Bob initiative: All it takes is your determination, eagerness and have passion for what you do.
Magali Greisoris, Elenco LaTé: I believe that what changemakers do is listen, observe, sensitise and pay attention. Changemakers are not indifferent to the suffering of another person. They think and develop solutions, take part in change rather than complain, and put in action ideas and projects, persuading people to join the cause. I believe that all help counts, but a deep change takes time and for this reason changemakers have to be patient, overcome challenges, and see failure as a part of the process. They must clearly visualise objectives, be flexible, prioritise the greater good, and believe in what we do.