International Youth Day: See some inspirational young people moving development forward

To celebrate International Youth Day on 12 August 2013, we’re shining a spotlight on just some of the young people who are refusing to inherit a world where extreme poverty and inequality exist.

I hear so many people dismiss the issue of global poverty with the words ‘It’s just how the world is. There will always be poverty, you’re wasting your time trying to change anything’. I wonder if they thought the same way when they were 15?

Before we become jaded and cynical, before the daily newsreel of human suffering becomes background noise, most of us believe changing the world is possible. Guess what? It is.

Sometimes it comes quickly in revolutions, but more often it creeps up on us slowly so we almost don’t notice. We’ve halved extreme global poverty in the last 20 years. HALVED. And with continued momentum we could finish the job by 2030.

One thing I’m sure of is we’re going to need young people like these to make it happen. Prepare to be inspired.

Moti was born in the slums of Kathmandu and became an ActionAid sponsored child at the age of 11. He is now a member of ActionAid’s global youth network, Activista.

UK video blogger Charlie McDonnell aka Charlieissocoollike travelled to Tanzania with the Enough Food for Everyone IF coalition, where he met 15 year old Frank who overcame malnutrition to become a hunger activist.

Young photographers from poor communities in South Africa are documenting the poverty and inequality around them, exhibiting the photos and driving the call for change.

A new generation of Kenyans are developing new mindsets, embracing new technologies and innovating solutions to social problems in the country, influencing the government at the same time.

Malala Yousefzai spent her 16th birthday addressing the UN with a demand for universal access to education. She was shot in the head by the Taliban less than a year ago for campaigning in Pakistan for girls* education rights.

Modjadji was the first girl in her South African village to go to university, thanks to a government bursary which is giving students from poor communities opportunities they could only ever dream of before.

We’re not all young, but we believe it can be done.

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