As part of activities commemorating the International Day of Education, the European Union Delegation to Liberia has awarded ten young students after a one-month-long campaign that encouraged students to share their dreams and aspirations for Liberia’s’ future through creativity.
On December 7, 2020, the EU Delegation began the “Da Youth Dem Voice Here Campaign,” a National Rap/Singing/Poetry contest for Liberian students. Young Liberians were encouraged to submit videos of recordings of their poems, sound, and poetry recitals. The competition was held under the theme, “My Future Liberia.”
“This was an inspiring event for all of us. We decided to do this because we believe the youth are the future of this country,” Juan Antonio Frutos Goldaratz, Deputy Head of Mission of the European Union Delegation to Liberia said at the awards ceremony held in Monrovia. He said he was particularly inspired and touched by the videos from the ten finalists because it shows that they have a vision, dream, and aspirations for the future of Liberia and themselves.
The future, he expressed, is in their (youth) hands. “It is made of their dreams, aspirations, and vision for this country. We have seen very talented young people who have shared their thoughts and ideas on education, development, human rights issues and gender equality, which are very important in Liberia. So it has been an honor and privilege to be a part of this.”
He also emphasized that the EU will continue to work with the young people by investing in their skills for a better and brighter future. “The EU is partnering with the Liberian government in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). We want to ensure that the young people of Liberia get equipped with skills for a better future”.
Charlvia Unique Johnson, a 17-year-old student of the Saint Theresa Convent Catholic High School and 1st place winner of the competition, thanked the EU for the platform to express her thoughts and aspirations of Liberia. “I am grateful for the platform given me and every other youth in Liberia by the EU. I am happy that we can be heard, seen, and listened to through our thoughts and what we think about Liberia. I believe, we the youth can still change the narratives and rewrite our story.”
Speaking about her poem that was focused on a more united Liberia, she explained, “Our politics can be divisive, and unity is one thing that can progress a nation while politics divides us. My poem also talks about the fact that when we are focused on our economy and how we grow it, it will benefit us more than just talking politics.”
The 2nd and third winners include Devine Saysay of Light International School and Paula Lela M. Jeremiah of the Spiritan Academy. Steve Collins, of the Bishop Juwle High School in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, Isaac Dolo, James N. Davis SDA School, Scott Johnson, Len Miller High School, Irvin Denzel Nyumah, Paynesville Seventh Day Adventist High School, Elfenesh Ellen Johnson, Aware International School, Numeune Moore Ford Madden, Christian Academy, and Meldoray Courage Tarr were the other finalists.