Dana's story

Sharing personal stories, celebrating the International Day of the Girl

Dana - Children's Board
09 October 2020

Every year, on October 11, UNICEF marks the International Day of the Girl, promoting gender equality and equal opportunities for girls around the world. This year, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we aim to celebrate it online and reimagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls. Here is Dana' story.


 

My name is Dana. I am 19 years old and I’m a student at the Law Faculty of the Babeş Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

I attend this university and I do what I do because I strongly believe in the principle of fair equality of opportunity. It is one of my personal values, but also of my family’s. My grandfather founded the first rural orphanage from Romania, in 1927. He did this so that the community orphans could have equal opportunities, just like his six children.

This is why I too contribute, so that the fair equality of opportunity may not only be a principle written on paper, in a world in which a girl can believe in herself so much that she could aim to be elected as Head of State. I believe in a world in which children and young people’s rights to participate in the decision-making process are considered a priority and a reality.

Courage.

During all these years, courage was in my core. The courage to fight for justice every time and against injustices and discrimination. I have the courage not to ignore an event or a debate which threatens these principles and moral values and to make my voice heard.

I have the courage to believe in myself and in my colleagues, with whom I formed teams. I believe that all our efforts are not in vain and that we will succeed together in creating the better world we all wish for.

All the failures and the moments I’ve experienced helped me become strong, as I was being maliciously criticised many times and suffered many disappointments. Although they angered and consumed me, they were necessary tests that made me become the person I am today.

I learned that I will be defined by my will during these hard years. That my success or failure depends solely on myself and that I am the only one who decides whether my experience will be memorable or trivial.

I learned to dedicate my time to the things that really matter and that bring me the spiritual fulfilment that I need.

I know that I have enough time to learn and to live. The most important is to have willpower, the rest will come along the way.

The most important thing I have learned from my parents during this time was that  my decisions must be guided by my heart.

During the four years of high school I dedicated myself to this cause, I worked and I fought so that my desires may become reality, as I was also a member of the Student Council and then the president of this structure at county level. It was a hard challenge for me, but also a responsibility and a great honour. Together with my team I acted day after day in order to protect the rights of the student community and their needs against discrimination and favouritism present in our school.

I acted without fear, although I knew that it would cause trouble in my high school life. I tried to improve many things in my school, but things don’t always change according to an idealistic students’ wishes. However, I know that I left behind a different mentality among the students. That I passed on to them the courage and the trust to fight against discrimination and for their right to know the truth. I have always dedicated myself body and soul to the school and to the student community which I was part of.

I lived, I felt, I vibrated and I loved wholeheartedly every moment I spent supporting others.

Even since my first year of high school I had a strong desire and will to improve the environment I was studying and activating in. So I committed myself to putting my personal values and objectives in the service of the community which I was part of.

I was and I still am very interested in the development and improvement of my country’s educational system. I have always believed in the importance of encouraging, in the still unpolished potential of my colleagues, in the effects of empathy for those around you, as well as the need  for a leader who can motivate, inspire and help develop the character and competences through the power of example. This interest and my passion for building better were my powerful source of energy and motivation for all the activities, projects, campaigns that I organized and which I took part in.

Similarly, I dedicated my entrepreneurship and creative spirit to my colleagues’ interests, but also for increasing the prestige of the college where I studied. During all this time I let my imagination and creativity develop.

I did the same during my mandate as president of the Cluj County Student Council. I’ve always believed and will believe in my colleagues, as much as I believe in myself, and I’ve proven my trust many times. However, I did this especially during the organization of the national theatre festival for high schoolers ~ Histrioniada Liceenilor ~  a festival I organized although I had no budget at all  when I started it.

During the six days between the 2nd and 7th of September 2018, at Cluj-Napoca, over 20 theatre groups from all over the country joined our event and performed over 40 shows. With this festival we succeeded in making their dream come true, in offering them a stage on which they could express themselves, in receiving professional advice from known actresses and actors and in encouraging them to continue working for their passion.

During these years I organized many events that had the purpose of engaging young people in their communities and especially in shaping their future. I taught them to believe in themselves and to think as big as possible, when it comes to their personal development and polishing. I tried to convince them that nobody is too little prepared, has too little knowledge or too little talent to make a change, first in their lives and then in their community.

Each time I offered them the example of my own childhood. I shared with them how I found the power to change. From a shy student, almost mentally destroyed by the bullying from my colleagues, I became a leader that succeeded in dominating her fears and forgiving her harassers. Moreover, I proved that I have the power to make some of them collaborators in the management team of the Student Council from our college. This way a few years later I succeeded through my actions to make the girls that were harassing me to to work beside me. Together with them, I fulfilled my wish and pursuit of putting a smile on the faces of students who entered the school daily, by creating the project “The Grand Mural of the Last Revolution Centenary”, a 72 square meter wall painting. 

This way, we managed to leave the message of our generation to future students. I wanted to inspire them as well to leave a mark of their passing through the school. To inspire them to leave remarkable trails in their lives.               

I’ve always felt that I had the power to act and make a change, a difference and, at the same time, to rise against discrimination, favouritisms and inequality. I acted in order to protect the rights and needs of those who do not have the courage or possibility to do this and cannot take on this battle themselves. I noticed during all this time that what people need is a ray of hope offered by the persons around them. I think that  there is a ray in our souls, but somebody has to transmit the vibration that will light it. I decided that I can be that person for my colleagues.

Dana at Children's Board workshop
personal archive

Through every project, event and activity which I coordinated I tried to achieve this “personal performance” and will continue to do this in every programme in which I will be engaged or in any circumstance in which I will find myself in the future.

One of my main values is to work hard, to dedicate myself and to be passionate about my objectives and at the same time to challenge others to do this, as well; to be a constant inspiration and to foster the wellbeing of the colleagues in my team.


About Dana

My name is Dana, I am 19 years old and I am a student at the Faculty of Law of Babeș Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Music, dance, theater and art have occupied a special place in my heart since I know myself, being a singer  in a band of teenagers for 5 years with whom I participated at the popular TV Show  Romanians Got Talent. I attend this faculty, I do what I do because I strongly believe in the principle of equal opportunities/equality of chances. It is one of my personal values, but also of my family. In all my 4 years of high school I have dedicated myself and my time, I worked and I fought with my team for a quality and inclusive education, which respects the rights, desires and needs of students, being also part of the Student Council and then president at county level of this structure. I am a dedicated advocate for the right of children to participate and wrote together with the children of Europe and the Romanian Children's Board Members the "Bucharest EU Children's Declaration".