Jordany, 16, loves football and is a proud owner of an official Costa Rican national team ball signed by “La Capitana” Shirley Cruz. He is also an advocate for children and young people and a member of the National Youth Participation Network of SOS Children’s Villages Costa Rica.
My message to world leaders is the following: give yourself the opportunity to listen to the voices of children, adolescents and young people. Consider our opinions and perspectives – what we want and what we think about the decisions that you as adults take and that affect us. Not everyone has the same opportunity to express what they think as I do right now.
We need to be given the chance to learn more actively, to try things and learn from this, to have someone who pushes us to do what we want to achieve in life. It is necessary to promote active participation in society, to promote safe places where we can freely express ourselves. I want to decide freely and to fight for a great future in which I can improve myself, help others, and support younger people when I am a little older, so they know they have examples to follow – good examples. Not like those who do not help them believe they can make their dreams come true. In today’s world, we need to be able to interact with adults. We need role models who are good people, who help us advance and improve and believe in ourselves.
We need policies and programmes to address poverty and inequality. Children and families should have access to the necessary resources to cover their basic needs. I also think we have to fight violence and abuse.
For people of my age, something that cannot be replaced or changed is the family, but one that accompanies us at all times and helps us, a united family. If I think about myself or other people my age, what is most frightening is not having accompaniment or support from their family, or someone else to maybe help while they are learning how to manage money. When you reach the age of majority, adults may no longer be interested in you in the same way. That has happened to others: if I’m not prepared, where am I going to live, how am I going to eat? Those are thoughts some of us may have.
I have had the support of many people and opportunities to participate in courses, but I think that more training is needed for young people to have a clear idea of what we want, and for adults to understand young people, children and adolescents a little better.
We need role models who are good people, who help us believe in ourselves.