This December, the second edition of YFS Youth Changemakers Project (YCP) will be launched as part of the Youth Forum Switzerland (YFS) program at the International School of Zug & Luzern (ISZL). The Youth Forum Switzerland is an annual event organized and hosted by over 85 students at ISZL and exists to give youth a voice in important global issues that matter to them.
The YCP is a virtual project that was initiated during the Covid19 pandemic and whose aim is to connect youth with leading changemakers from around the world who are focusing their work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in order to inspire action. On a global scale, more than 600 students participated in the YCP from 50 schools spread across six continents. Youth were connected with over 170 changemakers and conducted interviews based on their sustainable development goal expertise and work.
As part of our MYP Four - Individuals & Societies course last year, we were given the opportunity to participate in the YCP, which was an amazing opportunity to learn about social and environmental problems and solutions across the globe. By exploring the SDGs and learning about projects that are actively working to meet these goals, we gained a wider perspective and first-hand knowledge of what changemakers are doing to affect and create positive change in the world. Before, we had only learned about the SDGs in class as part of our curriculum, but with this experience we learned about real world problems such as the lack of education, climate change affecting our society and the environment, and we came to the conclusion that all the SDGs are inter-connected and must be addressed. They all affect each other and one solution impacts another. For instance, education, poverty, and hunger. If we are able to improve education, consequently poverty will improve, as well as hunger in various parts of the world. The SDGs need to be addressed because we can only reach these goals when societies work together to accomplish them.
My partner and I (Sofia) were paired with the changemaker, Luis Antonio Ramirez who is working on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. After interviewing him, we learned more about how he taught children about climate change in Brazil. His work connected multiple SDGs; SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. It was really interesting and inspiring for us to learn about his work and his impact on his community. He was so passionate about the work he was doing that he even used his personal finances to help fund his charity. He taught us about how important a child’s education is, and how by teaching children about climate change, more awareness is raised in the next generations and positive impact on climate change is made. In school, I had always learnt about climate change and steps to take against it. I thought everyone knew about the issue, so I never thought about the importance of raising awareness. However, after interviewing him, I realized the power of raising awareness through education, and how misconceptions about climate change are really common among people and how important it is to educate them.
I (Roberta) had the opportunity to host a Davos Lab with a changemaker from Brazil as part of my service-learning group EduBrazil. The changemaker, Douglas Giglioti, is working on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 13: Climate Action. He works on implementing the SDGs goals in schools in Brazil and making schools more sustainable places. The changemaker shared all his accomplishments, informed us about projects he was currently working on, and answered all of our questions. We are now aware of how crucial education about certain topics is in schools in order to come up with solutions to problems we face in society. It was inspiring to see action being taken so far away from us and to learn how we can help from here. What fascinated me the most was to learn about all the networks and projects such as The Climate Reality Project, Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce, and United People Global, which strive to make a difference in several places in need.
The YCP was an eye-opening educational experience and we truly felt inspired by the measures being taken in places all around the world. Participating in the YCP motivated us to join the YFS Team this year and be actively involved in organizing and promoting the YCP to a wider audience of youth that can benefit from participating in such an important project. We believe in projects that have a positive impact on societies to create a better future not only for us but for youth worldwide.
If you are a teacher or administrator interested in having your students participate in the YFS Changemakers Project this year, please contact us at [email protected] or visit our website www.youthforumswitzerland.ch for more information. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sofia and Roberta are Grade 10 students at the International School of Zug and Luzern.