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Junior 8 Summit 2009: Impressions by Yumnah Jackson, Cape Town

© UNICEF/2009
Yumna taking notes during a discussion.

When I first heard that I was going to Rome, I felt happy and my excitement was beyond my imagination. I couldn’t believe it, it was my very first flight so I was excited for two reasons, the first reason being that I was leaving the country and the second being that it was my first time flying. I was nervous because of the long flight and at the same time I was proud that I have reached this big point in my life.

The trip was long but I experienced a lot. I learnt how to travel by myself which will help me in the future to get along in life. It was a very long flight but lucky for me I managed to sleep most of the time. It was a great experience to travel to the other side of the world.

There were a lot of highlights for me, to mention but a few of the many that I enjoyed would be difficult. The event that I enjoyed the most was the cultural event. To me this event stood out a lot because I got to learn about other cultures and other believes and that information for me was enriching. We had the opportunity to have dinner with the Minister of international relations and cooperation.  We also met with the ambassador of South Africa, at whose house the dinner with the Minister was held. The dinner was a great highlight for me.

I prepared myself on the various topics before I left. The topics were climate change, poverty, development in Africa and the financial crisis in the context of children’s rights. I did research on three of these topics and went through them constantly. The fourth topic was only chosen when everyone was at the summit. The J8 community decided that the topic should be education. Once I knew what the topic was, I did research on it so that I knew exactly what I was debating about.

The school that I attend, Bridgetown high, helped me apply for the passport, so getting my passport ready was not much of a problem. Now I know I have it and I don’t have to worry about it in the future.

My personal experience to this whole trip was overwhelming. It was not what I expected it to be. The people from the other countries were so friendly and caring; they made us all feel at home from the minute we arrived. Even though I missed home a lot, all the friends we made managed to keep me occupied. There was a great deal of hard work but it was all worth it at the end. We also managed to finish the declaration which is a great success. The South African team has also agreed to work together and do exactly what is written in the action plan.

I would like to thank UNICEF for making this possible. Big thanks to Lindiwe from UNICEF and Mrs. Strydom from the Free Sate. I would also like to thank my parents for all their help and support.

More about the Junior 8 Summit

Junior 8 Summit website





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PHOTO ESSAY: South Africa at the Junior 8 Summit


Experiences of the four young South Africans who represented the country at the J8 Summit in Rome.

[View photo essay]

South African representatives at the J8

Read their biographical data and watch short videos on their expectations of the J8 Summit:


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