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Lauren Garey

Day two at the One Young World summit opened my eyes to some shocking statistics

We began the day inspired by the founders’ call for us to act as global citizens with an emphasis on, as Kofi Annan dubbed them, ‘problems without passports.’ We attended sessions covering global problems including education, food security and gender equality – all of which enabled us to hear opinions and experiences from people all over the world.

I found myself inspired to learn about the ongoing global initiatives relating to food education. Lauren Bush, a previous One Young World delegate, shared the story of her company, FEED, which provides healthy school lunches to children in need while Jamie Oliver encouraged us to join his global food revolution – to educate children about healthy eating. I did not recognise the extent of this problem until I heard the following, troubling statistics:

·       Our generation is expected to have shorter lives than our parents' due to obesity and diabetes

·       More people now die from obesity than from starvation and malnutrition globally

The Human Rights sessions evoked a great deal of passion in the room. Kofi Annan proclaimed, ‘We cannot be safe in our corner of the world while others risk death in theirs.’ One delegate, a Syrian refugee, asked us to welcome and help people fleeing their countries. She shared her story – leaving her job, friends and family – in pursuit of personal safety.

Other delegates spoke about their personal experiences with sexual abuse, human trafficking, and enslavement as child soldiers. It is all too common to hear about these problems on the news and to read about them in the press, but when someone your age tells you about them first-hand, the problems become tangible, more human, and impossible to ignore.

A few shocking statistics highlighted in these sessions are as follows:

·       57m children are not in formal education globally

·       1m children die every year on the day they were born

·       We have more homes in the world than we have homeless people

·       Two thirds of the illiterate people in the world are women

·       There are 27m victims of human trafficking globally, but only 46,000 have spoken out for help

·       1 in 5 women are raped in their lifetime

Luckily, the Summit always highlighted problems alongside ways to get engaged in the solutions. We can all positively impact food education by getting involved in Food Revolution Day on 16 May 2014. We can positively impact gender equality by building metrics in our companies for gender representation, ensuring sexual violence is not a silent epidemic by speaking up, and keeping men included in dialogues relating to female empowerment.

We can all make a decision to not only read the news, but also to discuss it – especially with people from the related cultures and backgrounds. Most importantly, we have the option to stop waiting for good news, but to go out and create it instead. 

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