I’m studying journalism at the university of the West of Scotland. In my third year now (yup just as scary as you would think). I love Journalism, it allows us to give a voice to those who don’t think they do. It means we can keep those in power in check & and make the comfortable, uncomfortable. I have done a lot of volunteering work in the past 8-10 years. It started in my first year at high school where I helped out at my local Rainbow Unit (guides but for wee ones), I then continued this right through until I went to university, now that I have moved to the other side of the country I am doing my leadership qualification with a brownie unit. Ive also been a volunteer with Young Scot since I was about 14. I was part of the Junior climate Challenge Fund, where youth groups from across Scotland came to us and applied for grants to fund local projects that were making an environmental change in their area, from urban to rural areas, from cycling schemes to food recycling centres.
Which young Scot inspires you?
Amal Azzudin, was a refugee from Somalia. Whilst she was at school in Drumchapel one of her friends who was also a refugee was taken away in the middle of the night. Her and her friends soon became known as the Glasgow girls – they campaigned against what was happening to so many right under everyones noses and took their fight to Holyrood, managing to free their friend. Obviously there was a lot more to it but this box is pretty small so… but I have had the pleasure of interviewing Amal and she now works with the Scottish government to help refugees coming to Scotland. She really inspires me because even though she fought so hard to come to Scotland for a better life she put her future on the line to save her friend. I think the debate around refugees is such an important one that needs so much attention in the coming years.
What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
There are so many great things about Scotland that it’s hard to choose. But I think I have to choose the landscape. The versatile beauty of it all. You could never travel somewhere in Scotland and not think wow that’s amazing. I come from Aberdeenshire, so I grew up climbing hills and mountains, I now live in Ayr, and I’ve never seen a prettier beach. Travel a bit further up, you’ve got Glasgow’s amazing architecture, cross over and Edinburgh is steeped in history. In the far North you have the loch’s and the castles, and the mountains and the ocean. You would be a fool to not think Scotland is the most beautiful place on Earth. (this opinion may be a tad bias, my bad).
What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
I really want older people to know that young people know. That just because we haven’t lived as long as you doesn’t make our opinions any less informed. It doesn’t mean that we cant join in a discussion or debate. Young People will be the old people one day. Things have changed since they were young. We know about politics, we understand what is happening in the world, we want to contribute to make our country a better one to live in. Please don’t dismiss us or our opinions or our abilities just because we haven’t been round the block as many times as you.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
In 2016 I won a Young Scot Award (oooooh). I won it with the volunteering group that I mentioned – The Junior Climate Challenge Fund. We won the environment award, and it made me so happy because it wasn’t just the seven of us that won, it was all the people who got us there, all the groups, our mentors, everyone who funded the grants it was just such a good way to end five years of working on such a big project. My second achievement was not just getting my article published in a national newspaper – The Scotsman – but that I got hate mail. Well by that I mean I got some old people commenting on it that I was wrong and had no valid opinion because I was so young. The article was on Brexit and how young people would have to live the consequences of a vote they did not want. It was just exciting you know that I could be like oh yeah controversial article and people are talking about it, wooo!
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
See when you’re doing your English Exam and you have to do that close reading thing. I really want it to be an article that I’ve written being used. Something that I’ve thought of for a long time, even before I wanted to be a journalist It would be so funny if there was crazy, stressed teenagers trying to figure out what on earth I meant in my article. It would make me laugh so much, and honestly would feel like I had truly made it.
What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
If you’re having a bad day, just remember some idiot got their straw stuck in a capri-sun.
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