Mariam Inayat Waseem
Age 20, Lancaster
I’ve been involved in youth democracy since I was 16, when I joined my local youth council. From there, I got elected as a Member of Youth Parliament for Oldham and worked regionally with Youthforia North West, Dovestones Youth Rangers, and as UK Youth Parliament regional secretary for 2013-14. Currently, I’m a trustee for the British Youth Council.
Throughout my time in youth democracy I’ve worked on a whole range of campaigns affecting young people – like the League of Young Voters campaign I was involved in locally, regionally and nationally, which I helped run through social action using thunderclaps and online competitions, and combatting youth unemployment at the International Youth Job Creation summit in 2013. I’ve always endeavoured to empower young people to have a say on issues that affect them, encouraging youth political participation locally and nationally. I’ve also represented the views of young people in the UK on the European stage, speaking at the Europe Festi-Forum about Youth Democracy in France in 2013 and the European Youth Event in Strasbourg in 2014 and I’ve also just been invited to represent the UK at the 29th session of congress of local and regional authorities at the council of Europe in Strasbourg. It’s a huge honour as only one young person was invited from each member state.
Through social action, I’ve developed countless skills and have been instilled with a true sense of empowerment. I’ve proved that my age, ethnicity and gender are not barriers to success, and I know I have to continue trying to help other young people realise this too.