We got straight to the questions. Maise asked “What are the kind of things you do at UNICEF?” and she replied by saying she helps with health care, she helps put laws in place to protect young adults and give them the opportunities to participate and she wants young people like us to reach our highest potential, not just as adults but also as teenagers now. I then asked “What inspired you to become part of the United Nations Children’s Fund?” Judy replied that as a young child she went trick or treating around her neighbourhood but whilst getting “candy” she also carried around a box to collect money for UNICEF. She also told us her parents spoke about social justice around the dinner table.
My favourite answer was to the question “What has been your favourite country so far?” Judy replied quickly that it was Nepal, adding, “Human kind at its core is generous because even though some of the people met there had very little, they were respectful and generous towards me by cleaning my hands with water that they had carried for miles.”
Judy was very lovely; all she wanted to do was stay out in the sun talking with us. She also told us she would tell her daughter about how nice we were to her. Judy talks with her daughter about all of her trips and she said it makes her proud that her daughter is all right with her mother being away home and supporting others around the world.
All in all the experience of being at the conference makes us want to challenge societal gender norms and Maise now wants to teach her brother that he doesn’t need to pretend to be hyper masculine and like activities such as football.
Young Lives invited a number of Oxfam Youth Ambassadors to the conference on Adolescence, Youth and Gender on 8 and 9 September 2016.