Missed the train
The deadline has now passed for Europe’s Interrail lottery for youth. More than 15,000 free tickets to travel the continent this summer were up for grabs in an ambitious scheme to encourage young Europeans to understand their neighbours.
Tickets were available for youngsters who turned 18 this year and were able to pass a series of questions about the EU, European culture and the continent’s institutions. The Discover EU pass enables them to travel to four countries for free between July and October. But not everyone is happy about the initiative. Especially those who missed out. More than 100,000 young people applied for the 15,000 places. In Germany and Spain just one in ten 18-year-olds who applied managed to get through the quiz and win a ticket.
There was a quota system allocating tickets to each of the 28 member states according to population. This meant that, for example, 19,000 Germans applied for 2,500 tickets, while 2,500 Irish teens applied for just 140 spots. Some young people have told the media that they felt that, although the scheme offered a great opportunity, the European Commission had failed young people by not publicising it enough.
Meanwhile there are sceptical politicians who have accused the EC of trying to bribe young people with free gifts to secure their loyalty to the European project, instead of focusing on hard issues like youth unemployment.
World’s youngest journalist
A young Palestinian journalist has traveled to South Africa to speak with different youth platforms about the challenges her compatriots face under military occupation. Janna Jihad is just 12-years-old and is already a five year veteran reporter, having starting filming protests in the West Bank using her mother’s iPhone.
She is now an ambassador for Shamsaan – a South African NGO focussed on human rights – and travelled to Durban in July to speak with the country’s youth and to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Jihad told Shamsaan members that “activism is a way of resistance” and said she had been inspired by Mandela’s support for the Palestinian cause.
Thought to be the world’s youngest registered journalist, Jihad says that her youth has helped her capture footage of Israeli military violence during Palestinian protests that adults would find impossible. She has previously said that “the soldiers catch the big journalists and take their cameras,” while she films secretly in the background.
The young journalist has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and was presented with the International Benevolence Award for citizen journalism in 2017. She describes ‘her camera as her gun’, adding “the camera is stronger than the gun … I can send my message to small people, and they can send it to others.”
‘Ice rebuilding’ machines
Students in Wales are trying to turn back the tide of global warming by building ice-rebuilding machines. The young scientists from Bangor University are working with volunteers from SIKU – a UK-based NGO devoted to helping reverse the melting of the Arctic ice caps.
Siku is the Inuit word for ice and the group have been battling to reduce carbon emissions and encourage innovative new climate strategies for two years. The machines developed by the team of Bangor students harness wind power to reverse the heating effect the sun has on Arctic glaciers and, in effect, recreate ice.
“What we are trying to do is to go into the start of the melting process, and stop it”, said Nick Penny, founder of SIKU. What the NGO lacked was the expertise needed to build such machines, and that is where the engineering students came in. SIKU held a competition to see which student could create the best design. Both students and volunteers from the NGO showcased the final product on a beach in Anglesey – an island of the northwest coast of Wales.