Being active puts the world in your hands

In this blog, Eurochild Children's Council Member, Alexandra, shares her hopes and expectations for the future

Being active puts the world in your hands, the ninth grader from Lyuben Karavelov Secondary School believes.

A ninth-grade student from Lyuben Karavelov Secondary School in Plovdiv is going to be the Bulgarian ambassador in the Eurochild Children’s Council (ECC). From April 30th to May 3rd Alexandra will participate in the ECC inauguration event located in Brussels. There she will join her peers from all the EU countries, the UK, Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia, Ireland and other countries.

The ECC works directly with the European Committee, the European Council, and the UN Committee on Human Rights. It has the power to submit proposals on policies regarding children’s rights.

Young people who are active in partner groups can become part of the collective body. Alexandra is a member of the youth organization ‘Megaphone’ of the National Network for Children.

The selection process is online and covers various topics, including a motivation assessment. Applicants also demonstrate awareness of children’s issues. According to Alexandra the primary issue young children in Bulgaria are facing, is the belief that they are unheard and powerless to make change.

Her key focus would be caring for orphans. Another point would be changing the educational system – allowing children to gain practical knowledge that is useful to them.

‘As a member of the ECC my primary goal will be to show others the importance of child participation – to speak up, because if we remain silent, there will be no change. Doing something puts the world in our hands.’

She desires more children’s participation in Bulgaria. That means different levels of engagement – not only taking part in existing programmes and providing feedback, but also on the higher levels initiating and organizing projects themselves.

Alexandra studies English and Music at school. She is a singer and a composer influenced by folklore, pop and jazz. Her dream is to graduate in English philology and become a university professor. She enjoys literature and has a passion for traveling and would like to bridge those with the opportunity to speak and be understood by a wider audience, not only Bulgarians. ‘To have an impact on people’, sums up the ninth grader.

Alexandra has often experienced discouragement with some saying, ‘You're wasting your time; it doesn't make sense; you're straining in vain; it's no use and just give up!’ ‘It is these words that motivate me to continue in these efforts’, she says, refusing to give up.

Often it seems the opinion of adults limits her generation. ‘I have the support of my family and teachers, but many parents push their children to only study for the state exams and find a decent job and that’s it; the bar is never raised higher. And we, as children, see the world with endless possibilities and it can really be that for everyone,’ she believes.

‘The paradox is that despite using so many social networks, young people in our country do not take advantage of the potential opportunities that expand their horizons. Usually, you need someone who will challenge you to make the first step and it shouldn’t be like that – you should be able to discover such opportunities on your own, without an adult, and get involved,’ the student contemplates. Many children fail to join youth activities and organizations because they do not have such a person around them. Alexandra has similarly ambitious friends, but the school community does not give them these chances. ‘They are not in the right environment and my wish is to help make every environment right.’

The adult who challenged her was her math teacher Georgi Stoev. In 5th grade she participated in the program ‘The Great Adventure’, which informs children about various youth organizations, their activities and causes. She has taken part in the presentation of the programmes of ‘Teach for All - Bulgaria’ Foundation, which seeks change in the education system. She was included in the project "School - Ambassador of the European Parliament" and is a member of the youth organization ‘Megaphone’.

‘Such activities and informal trainings give me the opportunity to express myself,’ says Alexandra. ‘They inform me what is happening in the world. They give me the faith that I can change something. My voice can be heard, and that brings hope for the future.’

In the ECC she wishes to exchange knowledge and skills, to develop herself and the others.

First - the change in oneself

‘The main problem for young people is that they are afraid to act. They worry about what others would say. Covid kept us at home for too long and deprived us of the opportunity to develop social skills. We can write and chat, but we can't express what we want to say,’ Alexandra thinks.

She herself is shy. ‘But I want to show that there is a way. Yes, it's scary, but it will pass. And there is always someone to support you. And you are heard. I didn't believe it myself. Until I saw it.’

Anyone can be a giant

Apart from music, Alexandra is tempted by writing as well. She is currently moving forward in the ‘Steps of Knowledge’ competition organized by the Ministry of Education and Science. The topic is ‘Dwarves and giants in the modern world.’

According to Alex, anyone can be both. ‘Sometimes we can’t see if others are ‘dwarves’ or ‘giants’. But being small-minded, like a ‘spiritual dwarf’’, is more destructive.’

Alex believes in the power to be a ‘giant’ with a spirit that builds, preserves, changes.

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