Hello to everyone reading this article! I’m Sheen Tyagi, a 16-year-old youth activist from India. I’m passionate about women’s rights, climate change, sustainable development and children’s education and welfare.
I have been doing MUNs since 2019 and I am an avid reader and champion debater. I am fluent in English, Hindi, Spanish and French, along with conversational Turkish. I like to learn different languages and cultures. I’m the Founder and President of the Girl Up Nation club, an international club at the Girl Up Campaign by the UN Foundation. I’m a part of the Girl Up HQ Staff as Co-Chair of Arts Club. I am also a Junior Fellow at Debate Spaces.
I’m a Youth Fellow at LearningPlanet. I take part in various global public speaking and leadership events and believe that people can be best influenced when they are motivated through introspection and visuals and audios in the form of art, music and history.
What are the causes that are important for you and the youth today and why?
Creating awareness and advocating for women’s and children’s rights, climate change and sustainability are the causes I work with and find them to be of tremendous importance. I am passionate about climate change because the environment affects our health and our safety. Our smallest actions impact the climate and I try my best to give Earth as much as I take from it.
As a youth leader, I am driven by my desire to make people more aware of their everyday choices and how sustainability can bring about a change in their lifestyle and the condition of our planet. As for my motivation to advocate for women’s and children’s rights, which was particularly inspired from personal experiences and those around me, I find it necessary to speak for those who cannot raise their voices for themselves.
Being a woman myself and seeing the daily struggle of women around me drives me to act for women’s rights on behalf of those who can’t themselves. Being a youth leader helps me combat the ill practices and work and ensure their rights. I have lived my life with a powerful motivation to work for the rights and welfare of vulnerable children — they may be orphans and physically challenged, but their dreams are the same and their motivation to change the world inspires me to reach for the stars.
What are the projects you are currently working on? What are the challenges you and your organisation are facing today?
Girl Up Nation is the leading international club at Girl Up Campaign. We have organised various global events in the past to create awareness and conscience for current global issues. We are currently organising Plant a Tree, Plant a Future Campaign which focuses on individual action for climate action.
A major challenge for us is collaboration — we want to collaborate with organisations to create meaningful and extensive campaigns and are currently looking for collaborators, be it individuals or organisations.
Interested? Contact me at [email protected] for collaboration/opportunities/proposals.
What is your advice for young people who want to make a positive impact? How should they begin?
Young people who are new to activism and making a change should consider joining established organisations and initiatives to learn about social causes and how various organisations are working to tackle them. Not only do you get first-hand exposure, you also learn to adapt and do what is necessary to establish yourself as a youth leader.
For me, when I started out, I joined Tony Blair’s Generation Global and later on moved to join UN Foundation’s Girl Up. These organisations helped me figure out the “changemakers methodology” and in discovering my niche. I encourage newcomers to contact and connect with me to find similar opportunities, I would love to help you out while starting your changemaker journey!
How can we make intergenerational collaboration between young people and decision-makers happen?
Creation of local and national cohorts can help intergenerational collaboration to a vast extent. It will help them connect directly and redirect their focus to relevant and insisted issues. It gives an opportunity to both young people, who wish to gain exposure and platform to voice their concerns and beliefs, and decision-makers, who aim to create ad rem policies to tackle prevalent issues. Creation of these cohorts in all countries is a win-win situation and will help countries address global issues with participation from young people.
What would you like to tell decision-makers?
Now is the time to collaborate with people who are directly affected to make actionable and rational policies and laws along with the youth to help them gain exposure and platform to address issues proactively. Help us speak up for change and be a part of solution forming. Let us come together to incentivise our passion and your expertise to create impactful decisions which will tackle issues more quickly and effectively.