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Youths in the Highlands are making a change globally after taking part in Changemaker projects

By Philip Murray

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Some of the happy youngsters who took part in the Changemakers programme.
Some of the happy youngsters who took part in the Changemakers programme.

YOUNG Highlanders have taken their first steps into a bigger world after participating in a range of projects aimed at helping them become active global citizens.

Highland One World (HOW) is celebrating the “enormous impact” of its Changemaker groups, after three years of efforts aimed at helping support young people become more active global citizens.

More than 200 young people across the north have come together to form the groups – which have done everything from the creation of a special new trail at Abriachan Forest, to the production of a graphic novel highlighting the impact of war.

The groups are part of Europe-wide project Start the Change, which encourages young people aged 14-25 to explore and take action on local and global issues through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Some 15 youth activist groups were formed across the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeen, who then sought to engage the public in complex global issues in innovative and creative ways.

During the project, 40 young people came together to work on a new SDG trail at Abriachan Forest using QR codes on markers to help link people to international examples of positive action.

The artwork trail features a mix of mosaic, posters and multimedia displays around the forest, all set out to observe social distancing and be fit for all weathers. The trail will stay in place throughout 2021 for visitors to enjoy.

Elsewhere in the north, the Inspire Highland Changemakers, a group of young people with additional support needs, decided to raise awareness of the need to reduce inequalities. In their film, Celebrating Me, they outlined what makes them unique and their hope for the future – for not only themselves but for the planet too.

And, in an innovative twist to sharing stories, The Future Girls, a group of Syrian girls based in Dingwall and Invergordon, gathered stories of migration.

They created a graphic novel to raise awareness of the issues behind wars in countries such as Syria and their journey as refugees coming to settle in the Highlands, aiming to change perceptions towards migration.

Project co-ordinator Catriona Willis said: “It has been really wonderful to see how the groups have responded. Their creativity and motivation has enabled them to deliver some fantastic acts of global citizenship in their local communities despite the challenges this year has brought.”

- For more about the groups’ activities, visit www.highlandoneworld.org.uk.

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