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The Power of Young People

Children belong in families,
not orphanages
Guest Blogs

The Power of Young People

As we reach the end of 2018, we asked Nancy, our Youth Participation Coordinator to share with us why it’s so important to let young people share their experiences of living in care, residential institutions or orphanages.

Children and young people are experts in their own lives and experience. At Lumos, children are at the centre of what we do. We work hard to create an environment where all children and young people are involved in decisions that affect them. This can be basic decisions about what to have for lunch or which shoes to wear. But the impact of involving children can go far beyond this and can even affect international policies.

By encouraging and supporting them to share their voices, it can help them develop new skills and reclaim a sense of control over their futures. And for those who have experienced trauma from living in institutional care, helping transform the care system for the next generation can be part of the healing process.

The young people we work with have taken their voices far and wide in 2018. They continuously surprise me with their moving insight and are able to influence decision makers in a way that I will never be able to. Only when we take the time to properly listen to the experiences and voices of young people can we create services that genuinely support them. This includes children and young people with disabilities who are often excluded from decision making, but whose contributions are always invaluable. Here are my five personal highlights from 2018.

Maicol

Influencing Global Policy

“We are not objects, we are human beings – and, like everyone else, we want a future,” said Maicol, at this EU conference about ensuring that all children realise their right to live in a safe environment within their families and communities.

Read Maicol's blog

Martina, Ruth, and Mihaela at One Young World

Inspiring Other Young Leaders

Mihaela (right) was the first young person with intellectual disabilities to talk on stage at this year’s One Young World conference. Her inspiring words about growing up in an institution brought the audience to their feet.

Read about Mihaela

Youth Advocate Marathon

Running Marathons

In September, Lumos self-advocates ran in different races at the International Chisinau marathon in Moldova. Vasile (aged 15) came 35th out of 809 runners in the 5km race.

Run for Lumos

Youth Forum 2018

Strengthening Our Team

15 young people travelled to London from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Moldova to take part in the Annual Lumos Youth Forum, where they had media training to help them share their stories.

About Youth Participation

A Pinch of Salt for Self Esteem, a cookbook written by self-advocates.

Writing Recipes for Confidence

“Can you imagine never being able to choose what you wanted to eat? Or never being taught how to cook for yourself?” The Bulgarian self-advocates produced this lovely cookbook with the hope that it might give other young people the confidence to cook for themselves.

Get Cooking