Yesterday I came home from school and realised I had just over twelve hours to write, perfect and present an eight minute speech for the Rostrum Voice of the Youth competition. In my true procrastinative way, I ended up on We Heart It, and believe it or not, that’s where my inspiration struck. I found this image (blogger is being a dog and the photo-uploader isn’t working for me, sorry) and realised it contained information that not only fit one of the topics (the silent majority) but also would turn into quite an awesome speech.
Here’s the thing. I also did something I’m not very proud of in writing this speech. In fact, it shames me even to admit it, and I wouldn’t, but the excerpts I wanted to post would reveal my deep secret. You see ibasedalotofmyspeechonjustinbieber. Embarrassing, isn’t it? It just fitted so perfectly with what I wanted to say, and well, you’ll understand (or maybe not) when you read it.
Justin Bieber was in Australia last week, although, I guess, assuming you own a television or read a newspaper, you knew that. Bieber Fever was everywhere, and declarations of him being as big, if not bigger, than Michael Jackson and the Beatles were thrown around left, right and centre. But here’s the thing. At the time of writing this, Justin had 2,246,363 followers on social networking site twitter, on which he gain most of his popularity. The current population of the world is estimated to be 6,818,300,000. Justin’s followers make up just 0.033 percent of the world’s population, and yet, lately, they’re all we’ve been hearing about. It’s a case of the silent majority…
As a sixteen year old Australian, I’m lucky enough to attend school five days a week. I have an almost certain chance of going to university, should I wish, and the likelihood of me getting a well-paid professional job is high. I have a part time job, but my family does not need my pay for support. If I was a sixteen year old in the African nation of Niger, it is likely I would be married, and would have already had at least one child. I would not be educated, and if even one person in my family had a job, we would consider ourselves very lucky. Niger is considered the least developed nation in the world, the average age of it’s inhabitants is just 16.5, and their life expectancy is only forty-four. But we don’t ever hear about sixteen year olds in Niger. Instead, we turn on MTV and are shown shows like ‘My Super Sweet Sixteenth’ where the daughters of the American elite throw elaborate parties and cry if they don’t get two custom –made high end cars. We watch shows like this so much that we forget it’s not normal. That those girls are so far in the minority, the percentage of them to the world would barely even register. We also watch ‘Sixteen and Pregnant’, a show also on MTV which shows exactly what the title suggests; pregnant sixteen year olds. The show makes it out to be a massive scandal, as if teen pregnancy is something completely uncommon. Unfortunately, it’s not. In Niger, almost ninety percent of all teenage girls are pregnant before they turn eighteen. Sadly, due to malnutrition, most girls do not have bodies properly designed for child-bearing, so they, the baby, or both, die during the birth. For the 6.8 million women in Niger, there are only ten medical centres equipped to perform caesarean, and even then, they are nothing like the sterile operating suites we have become accustomed to…
It’s a sad thought that in the year 2010, 25,000 children die every day from extreme poverty. That one person dies every three seconds from poverty and preventable diseases. That in the time it takes me to finish this speech, one hundred and sixty people will have died from something we have the power to change … You don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference, though. Through organisations such as World Vision you can, for just over a dollar a day, sponsor a child in a poor nation so they can attend school and have raised living standards in their community. Forty three dollars a month, and you potentially save the life of a child. Just think about it this way, if every one of Justin Bieber’s twitter followers sponsored a child, we would be almost two and a half million children closer to eliminating poverty. And that wouldn’t even be one percent of the world sponsoring a child. We may be far from the majority, but it is up to us to make a difference. The silent majority has been silent for too long. They deserve a chance at life. A chance to experience some of the basic things we do. A chance to simply be able to log onto twitter and be able to contribute to trending topic. To help add to Bieber Fever or to become a twi-hard. We take so much for granted, it’s time we stepped back and shared our good fortune. As Justin himself says ‘your world, is my world, and your fight, is my fight. My breath, is your breath and your heart’. We are all humans. We all live on this same planet. It’s time we all had equal living conditions, rights and most importantly, voices.
Of course, that’s only part of the eight minute speech, but it did the job, and I won the competition. I was pretty stoked, especially considering the majority of my competitors were from year twelve and well, had most likely prepared their speech further in advance than I did. I now get to go to the Southern NSW/ACT finals, which are on my BFF Eternally’s birthday, so hopefully it gives me good luck.
My favourite part of the whole day was the fact I got to miss half of the athletics carnival to compete. That thought gets nerdier every time it runs through your head.
frangipani princess xoxo
ps. If you want to read the full speech, I’ve uploaded it here for your enjoyment 🙂