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Youth Voices, Unfiltered


Scroll through to see young people's take on the global climate emergency, and the work that they are doing to fight against climate change.
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The World I Would Like to Live by Wadi Ben-Hirki

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

The World I Would Like to Live by Wadi Ben-Hirki (Youthtopia Circle of Youth)

I am Wadi Ben-Hirki, a 23-year-old passionate award-winning writer, development worker, and public speaker. Five years ago, I founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation (WBHF), a registered non-governmental organization that seeks to positively impact the lives of the less-privileged, marginalized, and victimized people through humanitarianism and advocacy. Our vision is a world where everyone has a fighting chance and no one is left behind and mission is reigniting the hopes of the hurting, especially women and children.

We run four programs that are in line with achieving Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). The programs are: Street2School: This project seeks to provide children with educational materials and, where we can, to put them through school in order to ensure that they have access to a better quality of life. Girls Not Wives: At Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation, we believe that girls have a right to life and should be constantly supported in order to reach their fullest potential. The promotion of gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence and harmful practices against girls everywhere are very important in attaining the sustainable development goals. LITMOW (Love In The Midst Of War): This is an initiative borne out of the need to remind these people that hope abides even in the midst of terror. At Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation, we strongly believe that human beings are more than statistics. Each person has an experience worthy of being heard and a life worthy of being cared for. Through LITMOW, we are able to bring relief in form of food, clothing and inspirational activities to persons who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria. SHEROES: This teaches and provides safe spaces for girls and women (with top priority placed on the victims of gender-based violence and abuse); for them to heal and when possible seek out and get justice for them; giving them the platform where they can channel these pains and experiences into purpose and productivity. Young people make up almost 50% (or more) of the world’s population. We are young, passionate, vibrant and aware about current trends and the new ways of doing things. They say we are the future but the future is now. It is, therefore, very important for our voices to be heard, for us to be represented by our fellow youths and for us to have seats at decision-making tables. Every young person matters and deserves to feel that they do. This is why Youthtopia is here to save the day! The uniqueness of this amazing idea that has been brought to life cannot be overemphasized. It is a dream come true for so many young people across the world, who have hoped for an avenue to make positive change. It gives everyone an opportunity and breaks the barriers that have been created by race, religion, tribe or gender. It is one of her kind and is going to bring innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. What is more amazing is that, the solutions will be brought to you by young people! Need I say more? Youthtopia is a world of changemakers from different industries and together, we will make our world better.

We cannot talk about making our world better without talking about saving our planet. Of what benefit is saving the people in the world, if there is no conducive environment to live in? I believe they go hand in hand. And this is why I am very thrilled by the brilliant work being carried out by “By Bye Plastic Bags,” championed by two passionate sisters, who have paved the way for young girls to become change makers.

It is very important for girls to be involved in the movement to protect our environment because they will become the strong and powerful women of the next generation but that tomorrow can only be assured if things are done right today.

Girls matter, have a lot to say and issues related to the environment affect their lives as well. The future depends on our current actions.

Going forward, I would like to live in a world where we identify as human beings first, before any other group that we belong to. With this mindset, we will embrace one another and discrimination will gradually fizzle out. A world where equality and justice are the order of the day. A world where everyone’s voice matters. A world where young people feel they are a part of. A world where “we” replaces “me.” That world is possible but it can only happen when we believe and works towards bringing her to fruition. We are ALL we need to save the day; me & you!


About the Author

Wadi Ben-Hirki is a development worker, writer and public speaker. She is the Lead volunteer of Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Covenant University. She has been trained by the Satyagraha Institute on non-violence, peace building and conflict resolution and the Youth Organizing School on policy advocacy & civic engagement. Wadi is an Ashoka change maker and served as a ONE champion for two years. She currently sits on the African Leadership Institute Youth Advisory Board and serves as a Country Representative for the Chatham House Common Futures Conversations. She is a recipient of Your Best Life scholarship program.

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Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth supports all young people and their diversity in exercising their right to freedom of expression. Reach Not Preach platform serves as a safe space for all young people to share their take on the topic of climate change. The views expressed in the Reach Not Preach platform are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and the United Nations.

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