Inspiring young minds at AICS

In December 2023, we had the pleasure of being invited to speak at two locations of the Amsterdam International Community School (AICS), which is an English and Dutch language school run by the Dutch government. Our goal was to talk about how people can make a difference locally, and share what we do with the students. We spoke with about 100 students aged 11-12, who showed a high degree of interest and curiosity about our work. Some even asked if they could volunteer with us!

We brought along a Menstruation Station to demonstrate practical actions that can make a difference at any age. This past Wednesday, we returned to see the kids’ end-of-year projects covering a whole range of  social issues. Clearly a lot of  energy and thoughtfulness went into these children’s projects, and listening to them present their conclusions and rationale was inspiring. While it’s important not to entirely burden the younger generation with the responsibility of solving issues they didn’t create, their enthusiasm is undoubtedly encouraging!

Our visits to AICS were a terrific morale boost for NF, and the school’s donation was much appreciated. The students’ smart questions and insightful comments in December were a joy to experience, and the quality of their projects and presentations was equally impressive. Some had even created striking websites, videos, and audience quizzes to share their findings. The range of approaches and the care put into these projects showcased not only the students’ dedication but also the support from their teachers.

Interestingly, the students’ questions about period poverty and what to do about it were largely similar to those we receive from adults. However, their enthusiasm was definitely more effervescent! This became evident in a conversation with two girls who had worked on a project about gender equality. They quoted from the NF website and shyly asked if they could join NF. While we don’t have 11-year-old volunteers, their desire to “do something to improve gender equality” was heartening. For this reason, we are shining a light on their project. Well done, girls!

We place value on fostering a sense of community and responsibility among young people. While we may not have the resources to do this all the time, donations also enable us to participate in events like these. We love that teachers like these are helping young people think about their role in the community, and we were delighted to play a role. It takes a village, and while nobody should feel they have to do everything, everyone can do something.

Another heart-warming project was titled “Helping People In Need Is Like Planting A Seed.” The two 11 year old girls who made and presented that project managed to beautifully encapsulate one of the ideas behind our own mission. Awareness matters: people are far less likely to solve problems they can’t see or understand.

We look forward to more opportunities to ‘plant our own seeds’ – and be inspired by the next generation.