The Youth Meet-up in Brussels was organised by DSW, Dance4life and CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality on September 26-27 2018. On the second day, the workshop was hosted by members of the European Parliament, policy advisors, and with assistance from political groups in Brussels. Ten youth representatives from Nepal, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Netherlands and Georgia participated in the Youth Meet-up to present young people’s issues from their countries. Our aim was to bring young people’s concerns forward by connecting them with Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) especially focused on three goals; 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, 4 – Quality Education and 5 – Gender Equality. Here, Rekha – one of the youth advocates that was in Brussels for the week – talks about here experiences

When I was selected to attend the Youth Meet-up along with my co-trainer Muneeb from Pakistan I had a range of emotions; excited, proud, happy and nervous as well, because I would be representing Dance4Life

as a Trainer4Life at this kind of platform for the first time.

There were lots of preparations going on before the Youth Meet-up. We had a webinar where we got the chance to introduce ourselves and discussed our roles, preparation, schedule and the mechanisms of the European Union. In representing Nepal, I had two issues in my mind which I wanted to present during the Youth Meet-up. Child marriage and chhaupadi partha or “menstrual discrimination.”

When I arrived in Brussels I met some of the other youth representatives and we went to taste the famous Brussels fries. In the evening we all had a welcome dinner with ice-breakers which was fun!

Focused on three goals

The next morning we started our preparation workshops with the whole team. Each group represented one of the three SDGs we were focusing on – goals 3, 4 and 5. We began to write down concrete messages and recommendations and also to present possible solutions for our issues.

Then came our big day, the meeting at the European Parliament. All three groups presented their respective goals, I had a chance to share the story of young girls who have to face discrimination when they get their periods and I linked this to menstrual hygiene and sexual education. The meeting was successful and the officials present were really interested and engaged with what we had to say. It was a great opportunity to understand the experiences of young people on a global scale.

Amazing journey

On my last day in Brussels I had a meeting with a representative at the European Commission working on the South East Asia region including Nepal. Anna Dahlman from Dance4Life and I went there to share with him about the Dance4Life empowerment model and I highlighted the issue of access to youth-friendly services in particular. He seemed interested and concerned about Nepalese youth and said he will discuss with his team in Nepal.

It was an amazing journey for me and honestly I really came out of my comfort zone. I never had an experience working on the SDG framework, I assumed that it would be boring and difficult to understand but after this Youth Meet-up I realised that the goals directly impact the reality of young people. I now feel empowered to talk about the SDGs, their relevance to young people in Nepal and I can connect it to my work which will help me to advocate for young people.

I found it interesting, what about you?

Rekha Trikhatri, Nepal, 26 years

You can see more pictures from the week here.