Young people fight for sustainability

Students from Hamburg’s Julius-Leber-School (second level school) research living sustainably and support the work on “Rights of Children” at the World Future Council.

This is one of the times when we ask ourselves: who is helping whom? Are we helping the children and adolescents, or are they helping us?

The collaboration with the Julius-Leber-School in Hamburg began with an Erasmus+ project, called sustain.me, which was attended by the head of our Rights of Children department Samia Kassid in the early summer of last year. As part of sustain.me, second-level students from Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain came together to work together on the project on sustainability. The students have been dealing with the topic, sustainability, for two school years and have taken a close look at areas such as nutrition, waste, consumption, fast fashion and clothing, tourism and sustainable living. The Hamburg students were experts on fast fashion and clothing. The event in Hamburg gave us, at the World Future Council, an exciting opportunity to share many insights into children’s rights with the students. We explained what children’s rights are and where and how they are being ignored, such as child labor in the clothing industry.

The students hand over the donations for the World Future Council to Samia Kassid.

A year later we received a message from the teacher Marion Walsh: The students had collected donations for us during the school year and she asked if it were possible for them to visit us. Of course we agreed and they came to the Hamburg Foundation Office. Along came the students, Aysenur, Begüm and Sanja, we were extremely impressed by their dedication to the cause.

The three young women could not let go of the topic: “We must leave a healthy planet for future generations,” says the 18-year-old Begüm and everyone has the opportunity to contribute to this! Since then, the students have given presentations to children from various levels, like 6th grade, on the topic of children’s rights and sustainability. They have talked to them about plastic in the oceans, violations of human rights in the value chains of the textile industry and how everyone can reduce their ecological footprint in everyday life, for example, through waste prevention or conscious shopping. They have also used the books and information distributed by the World Future Council to support their research. Amongst many lessons (students-teaching-students) they have held workshops with the students where they learned to make their own organic creams and scrubs thus demonstrating that these feel-good homemade products and gifts are not only more sustainable, but also more personal. All of this in English, of course. They question their own consumer behaviour and for them it is clear: It does not have to be meat every day and you can do without buying the clothes from the cheap chains.

At the annual school’s Christmas “open door day” and during school breaks, Aysenur, Begüm and Sanja set up a donation box for the World Future Council. Last week at our Hamburg office, the heavy box was handed over and we were delighted by the generous donation! Begüm even volunteered to give an interview in which she talked about her activities. We were thrilled with the dedication and enthusiasm of these young women and this not only contributed to an all-round good mood, but we also received a lot of input and inspiration for our work.

Begüm is one of the students from the Julius-Leber-School in Hamburg, who has passed on her knowledge on children’s rights, environmental protection and sustainability to younger students.

We would like to thank the pupils of the Julius-Leber-Schule for their commitment to present and future generations, when it comes to sustainability, and for their support for the World Future Council. A special thanks go to Aysenur, Begüm and Sanja as well as Marion Walsh. We plan to keep in touch with each other and look forward to collaborating again in the future.