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WE Day 2017

30 March 2017: posted by BigChange

Last week Big Change had an inspirational day out at the fourth UK WE Day.

Big Change has been a big supporter of the WE Movement from the start: Big Change founder and co-chair of WE Day UK,  Holly Branson helped to bring WE to the UK and we are aligned with their mission to empower young people to work together to change the world.

10,000 young people attended the event at the SE Wembley Arena, all of whom had earned their tickets through service both locally and globally. From the energy of the stadium,  it was clear how much young people believe  they can make a positive impact in the world. However, whist the desire to make change is clear, young people often lack the skills, support and opportunities to really make a difference. It  is this lack of skills, support and opportunity that we are trying to address here at Big Change to set young people up to  thrive in life, not just exams.

At WE day we had a line up of empowering advice, amazing role models and some world class music.  We heard from inspirational speakers such as Oscar Winning actress Kate Winslet, who recounted the struggles she faced in her youth, to inspire the audience to over-come the challenges they too will face growing up.

“I didn’t lock myself away and give up on my dream….I fought back. I had to ignore the negative comments. I had to believe in myself. I had to choose to rise above it all, and I had to work hard. You have to be indestructible to do what you love, and believe that you are worth it. And sometimes that’s the hardest part.”

We also heard from  US TV personality and dancer Paula Abdullah  and the Malik Twins, the world’s youngest people to reach the North and South Pole and climb the Seven Summits,  who spoke about defying expectations and the importance of striving to reach your potential.

We listened (and danced) to some great music from Conor Maynard, the Vamps, and Jessie J, who’s version of “Who you are” reminded us all of the importance of staying true to yourself.  Our very own Karl Loko also silenced the stadium with his new Big Change poem “Ten Fingers”

“If we cannot see change in the mirror how can we see change in the sinner?”

However, without a doubt, some of the most inspirational stories came from the young people who took to the stage. WE celebrated action both big and small:  from Mazoonrakan a refugee fleeing from Syria and fighting for the right to education for all, to the young boy who had cleaned up his local community garden in London. One of the key message we all took away was that no matter who you are, where you are from, your gender, sexuality, race, nationality, ethnicity, ability or socio-economic background- no matter what your circumstances you have the power to change your world and the world around you.

But more importantly, it is not just that you can make a change on your own, but it is that WE are more powerful when we come together. We are proud to be a part of the WE movement and can’t wait to be back next year!