The Voice That Will Transform The World

At the start of the 2015 United Nations General Assembly Meeting last week, global leaders adopted a bold set of Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating poverty, ending hunger, ensuring gender equality, providing access to clean water, and more. As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted: “These goals are a blueprint for a better future. Now we must use the goals to transform the world.”
Sara Neumann was the chosen C.Fox representative at a UN forum co-hosted by The Guardian and Unicef before the development goals were unanimously approved. Among the most moving speakers to underscore the challenges of our time was 17-year-old Danikka Calyon, an ambassador for Save the Children representing Australia.
Danikka reminded the audience that for so much of our history, youth have been voiceless and seen as incapable of making real change on complicated systemic problems. She called the goals a “roadmap for better outcomes” and encouraged all young people to be heard.
Watching Danikka plead for change on that international stage–with no ego, no personal agenda and all passion–reminded us how very powerful the unfiltered voice of a young person can be, and how honored we’ve been to work with so many young people over the years. People who have put their trust in us, like Crystal who helped us crystallize the challenges facing young people who age out of foster care. Or Malik, who persevered beyond unimaginable barriers to complete his education. Or Donte, who shared his very personal experience of moving beyond homelessness.
It’s true. All too often, considering complicated issues like inequality, hunger, or homelessness can spur many of us to throw up our hands in frustration. Yet, there is real wisdom and resilience to be found in the voice of young people who have experienced those very complicated issues first hand. It just takes some listening.
Indeed, the UN Development Goals are a “blueprint for a better future”, but the voices of young people are an inherent part of the architecture.

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