After running our education center in Antwerp for almost a decade, we have decided to take the concept fully online later this year and we couldn’t be more excited if we tried!
The concept of our education center was to use pop culture in all its forms to educate young people worldwide about issues such as HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, anti-bullying and more and for this we invited creative students to come live with us in Antwerp for 3 months and work on dedicated projects and campaigns together- it worked a dream, we had fun and the young people learned something to take with them in their careers: doing good for others is the most normal thing in the world, it’s not ‘charity’ and everybody gets better from it. We had up to 4 students at a time living and working with us, mostly from Europe, but also a few from the US, South America and even Australia.
Then I got thinking: what if we can make an online platform that is accessible to everybody with internet and for which they don’t have to travel to a foreign country? Not everybody has the money for that, or in some cases the parents didn’t allow their daughters (in these cases it was always about girls) to do this. And these people also have good, creative ideas, so why not use that power?
In the last decade the world turned into a negative direction big time: a move to the extreme right and dictatorships, climate change catastrophes (and climate change denials from the same right wing people), fast fashion getting out of hand production-wise and the need for sustainability coming to the forefront (this last thing is a positive evolution, obviously), violence against and trafficking with women and children, hate against the LGBTQ community, religions turning back to the Stone Ages… the list is endless.
I’m not someone who is very much interested in politics or religion, as they seem to be ruled by money and greed most of the time and not by idealism, but what I AM interested in -and have been since I was a little girl- is how to make the world a better place. In my opinion, everybody can do their bit and all together this will create change. But what exactly is that ‘bit’ and how to apply it locally and maybe eventually also on a macro level?
A few months ago I had a lightbulb moment: let’s build an online platform with interested partners, take a dedicated part of an important social issue (mostly taken from the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN), explain the situation and the problem at hand and ask everybody to supply creative solutions for that issue. That can be done by text, video, fashion, art, whatever they like. After we collect all these solutions, we choose the best and most practical ones and start to share the hell out of them worldwide, together with our network of media, organisations and private people.
We will say: look, here are 5 solutions to this social issue that you can easily apply at home, in your community, at school… choose the one(s) you like best and get going! And please share this with your network, because many hands make light work. We ARE the change. We ARE the power.
I hear so many times that young people are lazy and selfish, not interested in helping others, only want to buy the latest cell phones and don’t care much about the future of the world, but I found the contrary to be true. What I do understand is that many people (both young and old) feel powerless and anxious right now, because so much is happening over their heads and they have no influence on this at all, except maybe by going on a march or strike. This way we CAN make the world a better place- step by step, issue by issue.
Ideally, this platform grows large and has many supporters, as this way the change will also be more substantial. I believe that 95% of all humans are good people, so if we can group say 10% of them… just imagine! Will you join us?
Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and ideas.