Youth ambassadors urge others: Speak up, your voice matters

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

(From left) Renatta Ramlogan, Logan Cleghorn, Mikhaela Browne, Chelsea-Marie Scope- UK Ambassadors for the Day. – UK High Commission

FOUR TT students who were chosen to be youth ambassadors for a day want other young people to know their voices are important and that they can achieve a lot.

In November, the British High Commission in TT, along with the Heroes Foundation, held a competition to select four young people who would become ambassadors in the areas of climate change and gender equality for a day.

The winners for the climate change category were 11-year-old Logan Cleghorn and 12-year-old Mikhaela Browne, and for gender equality, 18-year-olds Renatta Ramlogan and Chelsea-Marie Scope.

They got to attend a meeting with British High Commissioner Harriet Cross, visit the UNDP (UN Development Programme) in TT, learn about hydroponics and aquaculture systems, and visit the art studio of Luke Pounder.

British High Commissioner Harriet Cross speaks at a special ceremony in Maraval on Wednesday held by the British High Commission as part of its 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. – UK High Commission

They also held discussions with US Ambassador Candace Bond and UK Ambassador Peter Cavendish, as well as Supreme Court judge Justice Westmin James and founder of Feminitt Caribbean Ashlee Burnett.

The competition was part of the commission’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Cleghorn, who attends the Oxbridge International School in San Fernando, told Newsday he feels excited and was “thrilled” when he was told he was selected.

“I’m amazed and surprised. It’s been great and super exciting.

“We did so many things, we went to so many different places, including the UNDP…It was just great.”

Browne, his fellow climate change ambassador, shared similar sentiments and added that climate change is a “very important topic because the world is changing as a result of it.

“As young people, there’s so much that we can do. We cannot always depend on what the adults do.”

Browne, as well as both gender-equality ambassadors, attend St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando.

Ramlogan said the experience was great as she got to “do activities that ambassadors usually partake in.

“It was just a really, really good experience overall.”

She recalled being nervous as she submitted her application on the final day of the competition.

“I love things like this,” she said, smiling. She added that she was also previously a US youth ambassador earlier this year.

Scope said she had never experienced anything like this so it was very overwhelming and a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“In the Caribbean, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go again.

“I want to tell young people to use their voices for good. Don’t use it for harm or to ridicule or for negativity because our voices are very important to bring new innovative ideas to the table.”

At a special ceremony in Maraval on Wednesday, Cross praised the winners for their bravery as they’ve “really been in the spotlight.

“These young people have got a lot to say and we wanted to make sure they got an opportunity to talk to as many people as possible.”

Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne speaks at a special ceremony in Maraval on Wednesday held by the British High Commission as part of its 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. – UK High Commission

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne also hailed the young ambassadors, adding that the commission’s initiative is “a very laudable project…

“It brings together young people from diverse backgrounds across TT to share thoughts with each other and also with us, and we are in need of some fresh ideas from the next generation.”

He urged the students to continue thinking of themselves as ambassadors for change as they continue to navigate life.

“I’m very filled with pride to have perused some of the statements.

“It’s not just for a day.”