Much has been said that the future of our world lies within the youth. At present, majority of the young people, especially those aged between 16 and 24, are connected to the Internet. And with the advent of mobile Internet, Asia’s youth has been more connected now more than ever.
Studies show that the Asian youth spend at least 10 hours a day online. Because of this, people often say the youth now have less time for face-to-face interaction and, thus, have less time in taking initiatives to help their own communities.
Taking advantage of the strengths of social media and the youth’s online presence, the WhenIWas20 initiative aims inspire and challenge other young people in Asia and around the world to learn more about the significance of being involved with socially-relevant activities and issues and become changemakers in their own communities.
Reaching 20 years is a very important milestone in a person’s life. What someone does/did when they become/were 20 years old will have/has a great impact on their ability to fulfil their dreams. The conveners of the WhenIWas20 campaign realized that successful and inspiring people started their activism (i.e. his/her road to success) from a young age. Most have become or have started to become a changemaker when they were 20 years old. WhenIWas20 campaign initiates a conversation between inspirational leaders/heroes and young people who want to make a difference. The idea is to push these young minds to contribute to their communities and to give them a platform to talk about their issues through a comprehensive online portal and the WhenIWas20 seminar series.
The campaign launched the WhenIWas20 Profiles featuring inspirational leaders and heroes from around the world talking about their experiences when they were 20 years old. For the past months, the team have interviewed several inspiring people and featured their stories on the WhenIWas20 website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Other profiles featured in the campaign (i.e., those who were not personally interviewed) were also developed after extensive biographical research. These WhenIWas20 heroes include international policy makers, celebrities, successful entrepreneurs, and other young leaders.
To maximise the impact of the initiative and to engage young people who are not connected to the Internet, the WhenIWas20 teams from different Asia-Pacific countries also conducted various on-the-ground activities. Furthermore, members of the WhenIWas20 team have been invited to various international seminars and forums to share their experiences and the WhenIWas20 campaign.
Aside from the initial six Asia-Pacific countries, the campaign has reached youth organizations and communities in other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Until now, more and more youth from different parts of the world have expressed their interest in replicating the idea behind WhenIWas20 in their own communities.