Martina, 19, is a young Lumos self-advocate from Czech Republic who loves sports, music, and reading. She was placed in an institution as a baby, ...
The benefits of meaningful youth engagement are wide-reaching. Youth engagement helps young people develop a range of skills such as team work, negotiation and communication strategies. It also increases their confidence in the services designed to support them.
For policymakers and service providers, effective policies and services must incorporate the needs and ideas of children and young people. They are experts on their own lives, and can work together with their families and professionals to decide what support they need. This includes children and young people with disabilities who are often excluded from decision-making, but whose perspectives and contributions are invaluable.
Involving children and young people in advocacy and campaigns brings to life the issues being addressed. Their contributions often encourage policymakers to give greater priority to particular issues, and can therefore bring about more targeted and effective policies and services in the future. Enabling young people to lead their own campaigns ensures the issues that are important to them are brought to light.
“We want to become stronger, and we want our voices to be heard out loud.”
“We need you to ask us what we want.”
“We learn how to listen to each other.”
“I really like this initiative because we kids, through talks, sharing, entertainment, receive life lessons, and learn how to solve difficult things in our life.”
“It was a very new experience for us to try to give a space to young people with intellectual disabilities to speak. I was impressed by the strength of their voices.”
“Thanks to those groups activities, for the first time, after 10 years of being shy, my son has started to sing again, even in front of other people. He has much greater confidence and self-esteem now. In one word he feels excellent!”