“At the age of 6, my family experienced super cyclone Sidr in 2007. I was so horrified to see how children were affected by the cyclone. I started raising awareness about the disaster by singing folk songs for the community,” says Sazeda.
“At 10, I became a member of a children’s group and started to talk with children and people in my community about child protection issues. In 2012, I joined an adolescents group to raise awareness about the issues young people face such as participation, child marriage and access to health and education services.
"Three years later, I joined a number of youth groups. Through these platforms, we were able to start mobilising children and young people in our community and conduct awareness raising sessions and community meetings. We also held discussions with civil society organisations, community leaders and organised rallies to promote our causes.”
Youth leader creates change
Sazeda and her peers have recorded some incredible results since working together. So far the youth group have managed to stop 107 child marriages, helped 87 children return to school, tackled 72 cases of eve-teasing (unwanted sexual remarks or advances by a man to a woman in a public place), assisted 14 young people to quit their drug addictions and initiated social action to prevent cases of child abuse.
Say yes to organised children, they can build a new world.
As a youth leader, Sazeda represents young people at different meetings at district, regional and national level. She says, “Say yes to organised children, they can build a new world.”
Sazeda’s aim is to create a better environment for children. Her goal is to raise awareness about child protection, support children to participate and raise their voices, mobilise change makers to increase youth access to sexual and reproductive health services and raise awareness about climate change so the world can become disaster resilient.
Now 16, Sazeda is a national youth advisor for Plan International Bangladesh and was recently selected to be a youth for change member and a global youth advisory panel member for Plan International.