On June 23rd 2021 , Kalilu Touray an SOS Youth from SOS Children’s Village Basse addresses delegates during the SOS Children’s Villages International General Assembly . Kalilu joined other 3 young people to call for action to support young people in the SOS Children’s Villages Federation. The session was held virtually due to COVID -19.
“I wanted to study science and become an astronaut. But when I was 17 years old, I met a group of young activists that drive initiatives to improve life in communities. In that moment, my dream to become an astronaut changed. Serving humanity for a brighter future became my passion. Those young activists really inspired me and I started to volunteer and join in. I realized that when we volunteer to work for vulnerable people in our societies, we are making the world a better place for everyone!
I used to be one of these vulnerable people. I lost my father when I was one year old. My mother raised me alone. It was not easy, as my mother had 6 children to care for. She tried to send many of us to school but we couldn’t access quality education because education is expensive. Luckily, I was admitted into SOS care when I was 7. I got an SOS mother, brothers and sisters. I could see how beautiful, safe and sound the SOS Children’s Village was for me.
So I also became a young activist and started to engage in many initiatives and the one I am part of today focuses on all children having equal access to education. We do this by organizing radio talk shows and discussions on the importance of education and children’s rights.
Through participation in different youth programs such as Equal Empowerment Programme, National Youth-led Advocacy Training, and Youth Power I got empowered to engage more and more.
I also learned about so many inspiring initiatives that young people are driving across the world. We were 36 young changemakers part of this programme but almost 300 young people from across the world applied and wanted to be there! I am just saying this to show you that there are so many young changemakers in SOS programs who need your support!
We, young people, not only enjoy engaging and leading our initiatives but we also learn, take responsibility and contribute to the development of our nations. Can you see how powerful youth-led initiatives can be?
Therefore, through my story I want to ask you today:
Encourage us to volunteer, motivate us to engage in our communities, organize youth programs like Youth Power where we can get inspired by our peers and realize that we, young people, can make the world we want. Empower us to realize our full potential through the development of knowledge and skills necessary for independence. Encourage us to believe in our ideas, don’t be afraid to give us space to participate and to let us lead. If you believe in us, step by step we can make the world a little bit better!
I will end my story with the saying which says. When you know yourself you are empowered” CONGRATULATIONS
When you accept yourself you are invincible.