Voices of youth from European countries

Adolescents from France, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands connect to share ideas about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Sebastian, member of the Children's Board
Adolescents from France, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands connect to share ideas about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
UNICEF
21 May 2020

The best things in life happen when you least expect them. That’s precisely what happened to me in this project, alongside the three teenagers from different European countries. How come? Because I’ve always wanted to share personal ideas, principles and experiences locally, nationally and, most of all, internationally.

So, I immediately applied when I learned about the opportunity to participate in an online project with other European youth! Why? Because it’s worth seizing even the slightest chance – this is the only way wishes you dare not dream about come true. 

Happiness, panic and excitement were but a few of the feelings I experienced when I found out that I was accepted and I would speak in English with youngsters from three other countries in the European Union! As usual, the UNICEF team was supportive and helped me build my self-confidence. We discussed together how I could overcome my nervousness, how to prepare, how to tackle a topic, understand that any idea is good, yet should be explained such as to be easily understood and not put anyone into difficulty. In other words, they helped me be myself, but a better, more sensitive and ready version of myself, which is how I felt from the very first moments of the discussion with the other adolescents, when all my uneasiness faded away, giving way to the joy and confidence that derived from understanding that I could really do it!

Patru adolescenți din Franța, Italia, România și Olanda au discutat despre impactul pademiei de COVID-19

"Sper că oricine aude mesajele noastre să realizeze că nu este singur și că toți trecem prin aceeași pandemie, mai mult sau mai puțin dificilă pentru fiecare." Sebastian, 16 ani. Patru adolescenți din Franța, Italia, România și Olanda au discutat despre impactul pademiei de COVID-19 și despre învățămintele pe care ar trebui să le tragă lumea din această criză.

Posted by UNICEF Romania on Monday, May 25, 2020

The three other adolescents were from Italy, France and the Netherlands, which brought a beautiful diversity to our discussions. Together, we shared ideas and described our contexts and situation. We connected via an online platform and we discussed for one hour and a half.

From education to mental health, the project’s goal to give a voice to adolescents on issues that affect them (nowadays, COVID-19) was successfully achieved. We aired our opinions on matters of interest to us but also to our peers, as we are in touch with the realities and concerns of the young people in our respective countries.

Sebastian, 16, Ploiești
Sebastian attends a Children's Board workshop.
UNICEF/Norbert Fodor
Sebastian attends a Children's Board workshop.

We interacted so readily and productively with the other adolescents, because they truly were ideal partners for discussion, highly rational and open to new ideas. The time went by in an instant, as if we had only just started when it was already time to end our conversation. Time flies when you’re having fun.

All I can hope from this project is that we have managed to reach out to at least one teenager who had doubts or uncertainties about this situation and inspired him or her to find a new perspective over things. I believe that only by sharing multiple and diverse experiences we may find the right solutions. Even more important, I hope that anyone hearing our messages understands that he or she is not alone and that we are all living through the same pandemic with more or less difficulty.