My name is Jayden van Leeuwen, and I have had the honour of being a coordinator of Save the Children’s “One Wish” campaign.
Over the last six months, youth ambassadors across the country have been meeting with children of all ages to discuss their hopes for the world by 2030.
These hopes and dreams for the world were presented not only at parliament here in New Zealand, but sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations for consideration during the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
With countless submissions, three central themes became apparent. Young New Zealanders want to see every child receiving an education, having access to food and clean water, and for youth rights and voices to be heard.
Of all of the submissions, the one wish that was put forward the most was education. Kiwi kids understand the importance of education, and the changes and opportunities it can offer a child – the chance to carve out their own path, with the skills and knowledge to tackle life.
It’s not just access to education that is important – but having the resources needed to learn effectively. Education is key for young people living in poverty, not only overseas, but here in New Zealand. Young people cannot reach their full potential if they have to go to class on an empty stomach, or without adequate learning materials.
Many of the young people who made submissions voiced their hope that they will be heard by those in positions of power to a greater extent in 2030. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of politics, the youth of New Zealand feel as though their voices are being drowned out, when they have valuable contributions to make.
One of the major hopes voiced was that children should feel safe in their homes. This however, cannot happen when domestic violence is present. This is an issue which must be addressed, to allow all children to grow up in a safe and loving home regardless of where they live.
Overall, talking with young New Zealanders across the country one overarching goal was apparent. We want to see today’s world leaders united in the desire to tackle global issues, and keep in mind those who will be left with the consequences of today’s decisions – young people.