THE POWER OF YOUTH series is kicking off on the International Youth Day. The WAVE Youth Ambassadors share different experiences on how youth are making a change in their community in regards to stopping violence against women and girls. Furthermore, the ambassadors highlight the works and efforts of young activists in their respective countries and encourage the inclusion of youth in feminist movements.
The 2nd generation WAVE Youth Ambassador from Romania is Alexandra Muntean and the first to share her experience in regards to youth activism and fighting gender-based violence as a young feminist activist in the series THE POWER OF YOUTH.
When I first started volunteering I was around 15 years old. It started out as an opportunity to find like-minded people, new friends or just to do something meaningful in my free time. It was then, when I discovered ALEG
(@alegromania) – a Romanian organization in my hometown fighting gender-based violence and educating young people like myself on the importance of gender equality. With them, I did not only learn a lot of things about what goes wrong in our society, about the importance of girls and boys treating each other as equals or the hard times women have to face every day in different areas of life, but also about how powerful a conversation can be, about how a simple action might not change the world, but it can change an opinion or get someone to do things differently next time and rethink their behavior. I learned that youth voices – our voices – do matter and most importantly I found my voice and for that, I will forever be grateful because that voice grew louder and louder every day and now I do not only believe in the power of youth but am also the living proof it exists. We as young people are motivated, we are excited and have incredible energy to change the world – so I decided to use that to do so.
How, you might ask? For example, as a young migrant myself, I have experienced first hand what migrant youth and especially girls have to face each day – discrimination, being left behind and hot having their voice heard – so I decided to do something about it. Together with UNICEF and as part of UNMGCY I am fighting every day in my community and on international level to give a voice to young migrants and young migrant women to shape narratives on migration in a positive way by telling their powerful stories as heroes in their communities. I also love fashion, but not at the cost of the well-being of women on another continent, so I stand up for their rights, by showing young girls that we can be fashionable, sustainable, and protect women’s rights at the same time. As part of the Future Fashion movement, I am showing our community how to live more sustainably, especially when it comes to fashion and how to protect the women who made their clothes.
As you can see, I do nothing out of this world or magical – it is sometimes just a conversation, a story or just leading by example. Something we all do without even noticing and should do more often. Activism does not have to always be something big or extraordinary – it can be just a talk at a family dinner, a piece of advice to a friend or a post on social media – of course with the goal to raise awareness and open the eyes of the ones surrounding you on the issues you most care about.
So tell us – what are you most passionate about changing for girls and women worldwide?
Author: 2nd generation WAVE Youth Ambassador from Romania, Alexandra Muntean