“If I were to summarize my experience in one word, it would definitely be ‘life-changing’. It was great to have met young people with such great initiatives, and with such a vivid dream of making the world a better place by making minuscule but meaningful changes. A project will never be able to prosper without possessing an unquenchable passion towards it. This allows it to stay afloat, ensuring its sustainability as it continues to have an impact on the lives of millions of individuals around the world.”
– Conan (Class of 2019, Colombia)
Last month, five of our students headed into Tokyo to attend the ‘We Are The Change’ event! Organized by the Youth Venture arm of Ashoka Japan, a non-profit organization that aims to build and support a network of changemakers, the event was an opportunity for youths interested in being a part of this movement to pitch their projects to a panel of judges, as well as listen to the ongoing work of Youth Venturers. Ayana (Class of 2019, Japan) came to know of this opportunity through her contacts while she was an intern at Ashoka, and corralled her fellow peers to sit in and listen to some of these inspiring talks and presentations!
For Poonya (Class of 2020, Thailand), being in the audience was incredibly beneficial. For example, she was able to reflect on the development of her own project by listening to the types of questions posed by the judges towards her peers who were hoping to be a part of the Youth Venture network. Similarly, Deepa (Class of 2019, Mauritius) found great value in being able to understand the judging criteria, as it gave her insight into what must be considered when setting up a project, and how to tackle issues encountered along the way. She was also inspired by the passion that she saw during the presentations, which she thought was possibly the most important thing one needed to have to be a part of the Youth Venture network.
“It was a great opportunity to think about what change-making actually means and to explore the ways of intentionally spreading positive changes. The judges’ comments during the Youth Venturer screening were interesting and it made me think a lot about the social interaction of youth with others and their role and impact. I think our school can resonate a lot with the values Ashoka holds and it is great that we have a relationship where we can learn from each other.”
– Ayana (Class of 2019, Japan)
Yutaro (Class of 2019, Japan), who was one of the candidates pitching to be a part of the Youth Venture network, shared that the entire experience was transformative. While he ultimately did not pass the screening, partly because the judges felt that being part of the UWC family provided a strong enough support network, the questions posed by the judges forced him to be more introspective about his own passions and motivations for pursuing his forestry project. This has lit a fire under him, and he is excited to continue pursuing positive change within Japanese forestry moving forward.