“I want to be free, empowered, in charge of my own life; I want to live my dreams.” Who doesn’t? The question is: Why haven’t you chosen to do so or be so?

Only those who seek shall find. Three years back, I was just one of the ordinary teenagers out of school but with dreams to touch the sky- to make a difference. I had a burgeoning hope of a teenage heart, I had a dream- I still do; a set of wonderful picture set in my mind for myself and what I wanted to see. I had a conviction to prove that if you only dare to dream and work hard for it; dreams do come true- age being a non detrimental factor.

Today, at the age of 19, as I represent Nepal as one of the youngest female spokespersons in national and international summits addressing global leaders regarding youth faced issues in developing countries, I feel proud that I went against the ‘stereotype’ in my community and strove forward believing in my own talent, beliefs and rights- following those dreams I once thought was impossible to achieve.  Today, working with youth leaders and organizations like UWC, British Council, Peace Revolution,  World Merit** etc in self led projects mainly focusing on poverty relief and social entrepreneurship in Nepal, I feel happy that I channeled the umpteen energy that ‘we’, all the youths possess in a good cause.

My journey started when I was 15. Driven by the unjust differences that I found in between rural and urban Nepal and with a genuine want to contribute my share to help curb it, I helped to start a small non-profit together with motivated youths in Kathmandu conducting various youth led seminars, workshops and projects. As I look back now, I am happy that I dared to take this first step – after all that is the only thing one needs to fuel the kinetic energy that keeps him going afterwards.

As they say, where there is a will there is a way. Breaking through the mediocrity that every Nepali society sets for the youths today and with an innate desire to learn the right tools and skills that would mould me into an educated being, I knocked down an opportunity for which I had to leave Nepal at an age of 16.  I earned a scholarship to United World College of Norway where I got an opportunity to be intellectually trained for two years with the selected future youth leaders of more than 100 nationalities. I left at the door, my terror of being mistaken - embraced life and there I went to be a part of a global movement which makes education a force to unite different nationalities together for world peace and a sustainable future. In Norway, I started with collaborating with humanitarian organizations to raise funds for “Help the Himalayan Children of Nepal”, a project initiated to build basic infrastructures like class rooms, furniture, toilets in the remote villages of Nepal  which was successful.
With the skills I learnt from my experiences, one of the projects I initiated is a social entrepreneurial venture in a rural village of Dhading district; “Sustainable Fish Farming Project” which is a sustainable model of commercially utilizing public ponds for fish farming of whose interest will be invested in a micro enterprise and school library of the same village.
Along this journey, with the works I was involved in, British Council London selected me as a Global Change maker to represent Nepal in “Global Youth Summit- 2011” that was held in London where I kept forward viable agendas that needed to be tackled presenting ideas from young minds in developing countries like Nepal.  Feeding my hungry soul, I embraced every opportunity that came on my way which led to my participation in “Peace and Conflict Resolution Program” in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a representative from RCNUWC, “Peace Revolution in Global Move” a campaign for world peace in Thailand as a Nepal Peace Agent, “Rafto Human Rights Awards” and many more which has nurtured me with the basics to broaden my mind and has left me much more stimulated.

Besides all of these, I am still an ordinary teenager; I love to dance and party. I love to be in the beaches and travel around the world. And as I write this, I think that my journey has just started.

What I have learnt from my experience is that – one doesn’t have to be tied to his past. I refer to the Nepal’s recent past and the deeply rooted concept of ‘there isn’t much to look forward to’ attitude in teenagers and youths that we generally find. If one rather chooses to be tied to his potentials and works towards fulfilling them by espousing the principle of grabbing opportunities than succumbing on the relics, then impossible is nothing. That is when luck happens.  After all, you write your own destiny!

Youth is a phase of life which is truly an amazing gift to be cherished. All it requires is the courage to step out from the crowd. Had I not been bold enough to take the first step towards my dream, things would have been different today. With time I have realized that every passing second is an opportunity to change things upside down.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. I think Mark Twain truly puts it right!
So, Chart your own course and destiny. It is possible if you only choose to do so!

Kanchan Amatya
Red Cross Nordic United World College of Norway
Global Changemakers Fellow’11