World Population Day

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The United Nations has been celebrating World Population Day since the day that the global population count hit 5 billion on July 11, 1987. This UN day marks the recognition of the opportunities and challenges that are offered by a growing population.

Today, July 11, 2015, WYA invites you to celebrate the opportunities of our growing population. We need to convince our leaders that investing in young people will be worth their effort. As the younger generation of our global family, share with us the many ways that you have contributed to your community. Our iCount Campaign features the endeavors of our members as they strive to create a culture that celebrates life and allows for authentic development to shape a sustainable world.

Member Spotlight

Arach Patricia

As a medical student, I have been involved in urging the government to focus on health in a campaign known as Focus15 for Health with many of my friends. We used #focus15forhealth on social media and worked in small groups to formulate an open letter to the President of Uganda. In undergraduate school, I was also involved in a “Run for Cervical Cancer” marathon which raised money for cervical cancer screening.In the future, I want to help young people engage in leisure activities that are good for their health like learning to play music or sports. I hope to help more people by doing my job well.

 

Joan Gichomo

I have great passion for community, which grew and developed in my campus years. I was an active member of the Community Outreach Program (COP) where I visited children in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. I was inspired to dedicate my extra time to mentoring children.I am an Akili Dada mentor, which aims to cultivate transformative leadership in girls and young women that are from underprivileged backgrounds. As a mentor, I dedicate my time to attend mentoring sessions which target students in high schools. Through these sessions, I am able to share ideas with the students.

My love for children encourages me to be part of their positive growth and development. The effort we put in terms of time, hugs and mentoring may seem trivial, but they do go a long way. Every sacrifice made towards developing one child can grow a whole generation.

 

Carissa Tinley

I’ve volunteered for a number of non-profits, all of which focus on youth empowerment. In the future, I want to not only be a voice for the voiceless, but also teach them to speak for themselves.

 

George Kinuthia

I am 24 and recently completed my undergraduate program at the University of Nairobi. I’m currently interning at Coke Studio Africa. I enjoy volunteering in children’s homes and lately I have been involved in street clean-ups and tree planting activities in my hometown of Kiserian. I hope to become a film producer of works that every Kenyan can be proud of and relate with.

 

Lauren Benzing

One of my favorite ways to affirm the dignity of those around me is to leave them encouraging notes and letters. I’m totally in awe of the unique beauty, creativity and capacity for excellence within every human person. I feel compelled to help people realize their innate worth. It’s incredible how much a card or post-it-note can change someone’s attitude and perspective. This is a very simple yet powerful way to help others reach their full potential. Together, we can build a culture of people who truly appreciate themselves and others.

 

Mahmoud Ali

I am into volunteerism and charity activities. Through Pwani University Muslim Students Association (PUMSA), I organize monthly community outreach programs and training to empower young people and the mentally handicapped.In the future, I want to create economic opportunities for the youth to inventively eradicate poverty, make education accessible to everyone, and bring about peace, unity and religious tolerance.

 

Maria Alejandra Sierra

I lead and helped co-fund Tandem, an organization that aims to help small nonprofits in developing countries grow. Our reasoning is that everybody has something that they would like to offer to people in need, whether talent or money, and there’s always someone in need. We would match these two groups and help them work “in tandem” so that nonprofits can accomplish whatever they lack most. This is why every project we work with is different. At the moment Tandem members are spread out but we are slowly getting the word out. Eventually, we would like Tandem to grow internationally.

 

Maria Estraviz

I am a member of a national NGO and I take part in many campaigns. Some of them involve collecting food for families and presents for children on Christmas, helping children whose parents cannot be at home, and restoring buildings in the suburbs. Now that I have completed my studies, I plan to continue to be committed to this NGO and its projects.

 

Mary Halpine

I will be working with people with disabilities who are often marginalized and struggle to have their worth and contributions recognized both by themselves and others. Through the rehabilitation process I will be facilitating with them, I want to find some way to enable those individuals to recognize their worth and be able to advocate for themselves in their home life and society.I also plan to work as much as possible in developing nations which have very high rates of disability – often with no resources. I plan to work in long-term partnerships to build local knowledge and capacity to improve rehabilitation services in those areas. Currently, I’ve been volunteering with Healing Hands for Haiti Canada, which is an incredible organization with local partnerships in Haiti, Belize and Nepal.

 

Michael Wang

One of my favorite places to do community service is at my local seniro living home. I have a program called music appreciation where I play music for them. I think it’s a great way to not only spread a love for music, but also to show appreciation to the seniors for what they’ve accomplished in their time.In the future, I would love to help kids do cultural exchanges and make that a more commonplace opportunity for them. Going to a different country will give them a wider perspective of the world and allow them to appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of the entire human population.

 

Modestus Mwachindalo

I have been working on a pilot project called “Dress the Rural Child.” This project endeavors to provide clothing to rural children and to assist vulnerable children so that they too may live a dignified life. If this project becomes successful, it will be extended to more villages and later the whole country. In the future I would like to form a charity organization that empowers and mentors young people. I strongly believe that together we can make our world a better place.

 

Monica Marin

I want to train young Guatemalan leaders on family-related issues, so that with their own creativity they can propose new solutions based on the family—solutions that answer to problems we currently face in Guatemala like poverty, violence and corruption.

 

Nicholas Anderson

I enjoy tutoring and I do it whenever I can. My favorite subjects to teach are math, Spanish and English. Young children are a joy to work with, grateful and eager to learn, and it’s also a useful way to keep my own knowledge of the basics sharp! I want to serve in a way that will allow me to learn skills so I can expand the breadth and depth of service I could offer to others.

 

Paulina Axotla

I help my community by giving free English classes and by helping with the promotion of the recycling program. In the future, I would like to open an extracurricular program for children in need where they can have access to art classes and sports teams. My main goal for this is to promote values and prevent children from using drugs or getting involved in crimes.

 

Quina Baterna

For more than a year now, I’ve been one of the heads of the Philippine branch of the world’s largest student consultancy group that seeks to help non-profits, NGOs and social enterprises improve their services. I want to use my skills to improve the quality of work that helpful organizations do and make tangible impact in the lives of people all over the world.

 

Randall Fowler

I volunteer as a tutor in the Waco community and support local racial reconciliation efforts. I am also involved in the ministries sponsored by my congregation at Grace Church. I want to be more involved in efforts to educate high school and college students about the world, particularly the importance of supporting human dignity and informing people on the often confusing conflicts in the Middle East.

 

Sylvia Wanjiru Muriithi

My friends and I are currently working towards alleviating poverty through farming in Kenya. We are working on a model whereby we go to communities and teach them ways to use the idle land granted to them for a short period of time for a profit. This involves marketing their produce on their behalf and assistance in the management of the farms to ensure quality is attained. I want to enable the less fortunate within my community to make a living and improve their standards of living. I also hope to partner with educational institutions and career counselors to help young people determine their path and help them to work towards self-actualization without the hindrance of societal pressure and obligations.

 

Br. Thomas-Martin Miller

My summer job during college was to help people with mental disabilities who resided n group homes to live fulfilling lives in their communities. Helping them work, shop, eat and play was incredibly rewarding, and it required even more creativity than my later career in software.

 

Vanessa Cherese

As a young person from Kenya, I want to be the change that I want to see. I plan to be proactively engaged in change through fields such as advocacy, and to be a practical example of virtuous living. I want to contribute a positive change in my country by being an example to young girls to believe in themselves and their capacity.

 

Weronika Janczuk

Outside of my time at WYA, I spend time tutoring and working at soup kitchens for the poor in Harlem and the Bronx. My face-to-face, hands-to-hands encounters with these individuals, with their joy and courage, has taught me what we mean at WYA when we say that our mission lies in the defense of human dignity: it’s the defense of the unique, intricate life that blazes in the eyes of each of them, with their own name and pockets of tucked away desires, hopes, dreams and endless opportunities to become more truly themselves. It is a life as much theirs as it is mine.

 

Mark Ojal

As an urban design trainee and an urban enthusiast, I am keen about the quality of life that my city offers to its residents. I work towards promoting dialogue among different stakeholders to further this agenda. In addition, I connect people who are engaging in life-changing ventures to improve livelihoods. At the moment, I am using my experience and networks to connect students, young people doing amazing things, government and small NGOs with one another so that they can leverage on resources, expertise and also share success and failures. As a young professional, I am keen to see the growth of urban design as a discipline in this part of the world and our cities become places for people. Where livelihoods thrive, dreams are realised and human dignity upheld.

 

Buhlebenkosi Mhlanga

I work with young people, focusing on personal and social development through one-on-one relationships and in group-based activities. These activities include educational activities like: conferences, symposia, workshops, and leisure and sport activities.

 

Philip Maiyo

I like to break barriers by creating awareness. I strive everyday to have the issue of human trafficking to be brought to an end. It is an issue that is gaining epidemic levels worldwide and I believe that as humans, we should take a stand against these acts. Through the CUEA Clubs Committee & the Human Rights Club, I helped organize an art exhibit showing the various forms of human trafficking. We partnered with HAART through their Arts to End Slavery Campaign.

July 11 is UN World Population Day (WPD). In 2014, the WPD theme is Investing in Young People. The United Nations website states: as the world population edged to 7 billion people in 2011 (up from 2.5 billion in 1950), it has had profound implications for development. A world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity with implications on sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment.

The World Youth Alliance agrees that our population poses an opportunity for great things. The most important economic effect of population size and growth is the contribution of additional people and creativity to a nation. The more people there are, the more creators, innovators, and developers there are.

People are not the problem. People are the solution.

In this kind of thinking, the solution is for people to get out of poverty through a focus on human development through education, employment and access to various forms of capital. We celebrate each new life and look forward to nurturing each invidual to help in the development of humanity. In the end, people are the most important and valuable resource of any nation.

People are not just a statistic. People count.

Member Spotlight

To celebrate World Population Day, WYA members have shared with us the many ways they have made themselves count. They have utilized their skills and talents to come up with solutions for the issues and problems they face in their local communities.


Learn more about population and sustainable development through these WYA resources: