That was in the first year of the Corona epidemic. I had a lot of time to think. I thought: I’m on lockdown at home right now, it’s annoying, but I’m safe here. I don’t think this is normal. For millions of people, the world is not safe at all.
My parents are from Sri Lanka. I heard that the dead were cremated there, though it was against their will and their religion. Even the human rights of the dead were violated!
“I realized how little I knew about what was going on in the world. I started reading about it on the Amnesty International website. I started participating in letter writing campaigns, sending letters to governments of countries where people don’t have rights.
“I signed up for the UNICEF Youth Committee. We made a podcast on this topic with and for young people fomo [‘fear of missing out’]. It’s about young people who get stressed because they’re afraid of missing out on all the fun stuff.
“After Corona, I joined a debate group at school. It seemed useful to me. There I could learn how to defend people who were silenced in their own country. But in the first year, I didn’t dare to say anything during those discussions. I found that other students came up with similar ideas.” These strong arguments which I myself did not come up with.I found them orally so strong that they made me quiet and shy.
“At the start of this school year I talked to myself a bit tough. Like, ‘Come on, show what you got, and dare to throw your 100 percent into the debate! Natural. In retrospect, I say now, “It was a good thing I basically listened for a year. You taught me how to incorporate numbers into an argument, how to use emotion, how to use humor.”
“To my surprise, I’m now in the National Final. In my opinion, that’s already special enough; I don’t think about winning anymore. I prepare as best I can. That’s all I can do.”
I just got online first word By Kawthar Bukhalecht. She is a member of the House of Representatives for GroenLinks. She expresses in a very beautiful way why she got into politics and how she is inspired by her faith. Religion and Islam is also important to me. It gives me peace and confidence: God has a plan for me, I’m not alone.
“Honestly, it doesn’t suit me to be on the front line myself. What I really want in the future is to help people. I think all attention should be on those in need. As a counselor, you should be able to empathize with their situation and not think too much about yourself.
“I don’t think I want to be a doctor for this reason. This was my plan at the beginning. But for that, you have to look very far ahead: Now first get high grades, then you get selected, you become a doctor, and then you have to deal with Intense competition to become a medical specialist.I don’t know if I can meet such high demands.
I am now thinking of studies such as biopharmacy or clinical chemistry. With this, you can develop medicine while you yourself are not in the spotlight as a doctor.
“Helping people and staying humble – I think that attracts me the most.”
The final “On the way to Het Lagerhuis” can be watched on Saturday 6 May on NPO 2 (8.25pm), at BNNVARA.
In this section: ideas and plans of a new generation. See also: newsletter future affairs (Registration: nrc.nl/futureaffairs).
registered by Gijsbert van Es
A version of this article also appeared in the May 6, 2023 issue of the newspaper.
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