It’s a Sunday Morning in Cold English Autumn. Heavy mist shrouds the bright blue sky. In an otherwise barren landscape, lonely Autumn trees are naked with their leaves blowing away in the wind. Nature seems gallant and full of gratification as if she was proud to host Global Changemakers from around the world.
There is just so much evil existing in this world we call home. On a frighteningly regular basis; war preys on lives of innocent men. Kids as young as 5 or 6 get conscripted. Women get brutally gang raped and kids as young as 3 or 4 become victims of sadistic abuse. Millions fall prey to natural hazards. Corruption reigns as hard earned cash gets robbed. Journalists get killed for writing what they believe in and gay people get killed for who they are.
I applied for a Global Changemakers, because I believe that some things needed to change. I wanted to catalyse this eventuality. But most of all, I needed some inspiration. Ama Peiris and I were chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the Global Changemakers, Global Youth Summit 2012 held in High Wycombe, London in November 2012.
Global Changemakers is a global youth network of social entrepreneurs, community activists and advocates between the ages of 16 and 25. The mission is to empower youth to catalyse positive social change by providing them with skills, contacts, opportunities and a community of like-minded people pursuing the same goals. Bringing together people from over 120 countries, it’s a place to share experiences, build skills, apply and test ideas and access some truly amazing opportunities. Global Changemakers are at the forefront of running innovative projects in their communities, shaping policy and speaking truth to power through access to institutions and platforms such as the World Economic Forum.
Day one: everyone seemed so different: black, white, yellow and different shades of brown. Young, crazy. passionate. random, quirky. It was almost intimidating how smart everyone seemed. Rebels. Fighters. Freaks. They didn’t have hidden agendas and political interests that politicians do. They didn't have petty corporate interests that drive the multinationals and the corporates. They were there simply there ‘cause they genuinely cared. As I looked at the others around me, I saw the passion burning in their eyes (something you never see in the eyes of decision makers).
Pretty faces, small talk, witty comments and uncontrollable laughter.. The next few days connected all of us in some weird, beautiful way. Some way that transcended blood, and race and religion and all things that set humans apart. We danced, and dreamed, and cried in the heart of London and found something to believe in.
Making change is not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s a tough, difficult business and a whole lot of work: to be indifferent to the unspeakable violence around us and to look on, doing nothing: now, that’s easy. But taking a stand, and fighting for what you believe in, even if it means fighting alone: that takes more than guts. That’s what changemakers are made of: humanity, courage, love.
As Meyer said: ‘when life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end’. No matter where this crazy world takes me or what life’s plans for me are, whenever I need a whole of inspiration I’m going to remember the changemakers I met at the Global Youth Summit and those 6 days with the Global Changemakers.