Young people: short in years, long in boldness.
While grown-ups are busy trying to cut back on coffee and file taxes, youngsters out there are standing strong on issues that matter to them and demanding action from world leaders.
They are taking control of their futures and making sure all young people have the resources necessary to live an educated life of opportunity — and we should thank them.
Action/2015 has helped compile four young leaders who are leading the charge in 2015. The world is their stage.
Four amazing youngsters you wish you knew about:
1. Anoyara, India
Anoyara is taking her unfortunate childhood experience and turning it into good.
Faced with extreme poverty as a child, her mother gave her away in exchange for money and a promise of a monthly portion of Anoyara's income. Anoyara was then trafficked to Delhi as a domestic worker.
Anoyara's experience — instead of scarring her — has made her a vocal campaigner against human trafficking. Her trauma has inspired her to devote her life to protecting those who are the most susceptible to being trafficked: young girls.
She has helped gather information about trafficked children, traced traffickers, and mobilized the support of adults in order to reunite children with their families. Anoyara's efforts have helped hundreds of trafficked children from her village get back to where they should be: with their families. On top of that, she has helped prevent 35 cases of early marriage (like, girls under the age of 10).
Holy crap, that's incredible! And people have noticed. She was named a "True Girl Hero" by the Malala Fund last year and nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2012.
Congrats, Anoyara. Keep it up!
2. Mohamedi, Tanzania
Mohamedi is a member of the children's council in Tanzania and educates his community about child rights. But that's not all.
"You see, I am an albino in Tanzania," he told Action/2015. "In my country, people think we are part of some sort of scary magic. It is believed albino body parts will bring a person wealth or luck. I want to be a champion in this cause."
He speaks out on the challenges and fears of fellow albinos in his country, as well as on the lack of health education in his area. And he's super involved in speaking out against a law that allows 15-year-old girls and 18-year-old boys to marry —a law that prevents girls from accessing their full education and encourages them to become mothers before they are ready.
3. Debora, Brazil
Debora is passionate about reducing the catastrophic impact climate change is having on our planet.
She's a champion of youth rights and knows how to use her voice for good by speaking at a lot of events, like the World Conference on Youth. She's also the co-founder of Engajamundo, a youth-led NGO that works on the participation, mobilization, and capacity-building of Brazilian youth regarding the international agenda.
"We are the present and future generation, so I have been working on raising awareness of Brazilian youth by organizing local actions and urban interventions," Debora says. "My goal, as an activist, is to show young people that if I engage myself and my community in order to protect my rights and my planet, our reality can be transformed."
4. Precious, Zambia
Precious knows the role she and her peers play in influencing leaders on programs and policies that can help them succeed.
"If we act irresponsibly, we won't grow into productive citizens and as a result we shall be burdens to our government instead of being assets."
So, she's leading by example.
Precious has set up Child Rights Clubs in her school to help promote and create awareness on child rights in education and health in Zambia. Um, awesome.
She's also been an advocate for increasing funding for improved access to maternal child health services, and she works with young women in her community and school to raise awareness around child, early, and forced marriage. Then, she works with local civic and traditional leaders to inform them of what's going on and what needs to be done.
And THAT is how change happens.
To think — these 4 young people are just the beginning of a huge line of heroic coolness. Yes.
They make me excited and hopeful for the future. And the best part? These are just four out of many driven young people out there overcoming obstacles to better the world. Do you know any of them?