I recently read a very inspiring story that I wanted to share with my Win Win followers in hopes that they will take away the same inspiration from it that I have. Popular Bollywood actress, International Recording Artist and UNICEF India Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, recently visited Chandrapur on International Youth Day at request of UNICEF to visit a new generation of strong young Indian women. The girls she met are part of the Building Young Futures program, run in partnership with UNICEF. The program is determined to challenge the difficulties many girls are facing across the world, providing girls with the knowledge and skills they need to become strong financially independent women and also very importantly, to become the agents for change and development in their own communities.
Chopra has been a UNICEF Ambassador for more than 8 years championing the cause of adolescent girls. She passionately believes that young people are bursting with potential… that they can transform society. But they need help. Chopra says “We need to urgently invest in their future and help them realise their potential and I am determined to help make that happen.”
There are 1.2 billion adolescents in the world today. I remember the dreams I had for the future when I was a teenager. I had support and encouragement that I could make those dreams a reality. With support, opportunities and a lot of hard work, I’ve been able to make them happen. But I know that many youngsters aren’t this lucky. In Maharashtra, for instance, girls are held back by not completing education, early marriage, ignorance around health issues and a lack of financial understanding. Mostly, they have no voice for decision making. We need to show adolescent girls around the world that they DO have a voice and that we’ll support them in their dreams for the future because it’s OUR future too.
Support for young people can only have a positive impact on our nation and society as a whole. So what are the ingredients for a strong girl or boy?
• Teach a young person not what to think but HOW to think
• Encourage a young person to dare to believe because they have the skills to realize their dreams
• Foster a young person’s confidence to voice their own opinions and solve their own problems
• Instil an understanding of savings, money and business so she may become financially independent
• Nurture an interest in their community so their impacts can be shared and beneficial to others
Alongside all this… add a bit of magic… encouraging adolescents to share their new power and use it to do good for the community. Teach others and the ripple of empowerment spreads. It’s a real, tangible, positive effect that is there for all to see.
All girls and boys can make their own name and fate and be independent. I thought that was a great message for young people everywhere on this international youth day. With ‘Building Young Futures’ and UNICEF’s involvement these positive stories and messages will only grow in number.