25 August 2014

Reflections on the 500 Days of Action for the Millennium Development Goals

Leila and Miriam Bouchekouk, from UNAI ASPIRE Chapter East Stroudsburg South High School, have written reflections on their experiences at the 500 Days of Action for the MDGs with Malala and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


The 500 days of action for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) event achieved an acceleration in the progress towards the MDGs, but not by promoting awareness for the deadline of these goals. I believe that this day led to a simple yet powerful transformation from the millennium development goals to the millennium development momentum.
During the event I forced myself to pry away from the speakers for a moment to look around me. What I noticed was everyone all around me taking notes, dedicating their ears, and/or trying to capture every moment with their cameras to preserve the strength of the momentum forming before our eyes. These individuals will go back to their communities to plant a seed to impact even more advocates for universal education. The motion for this momentum comes about from the common goal we have to eradicate the problems presented in the MDGs, with a special focus on education. Why education? Because it is essential to attain the millennium objectives. As Secretary Ban Ki-Moon explained, “Invest in human beings, invest in education.”
The result of August 18, 2014 was a moving body composed of millions of youth and adults united for one common goal. Something as strong as this momentum cannot go unnoticed for much longer. Something as powerful as education will never diminish once planted in a society, but instead flourish the world. 
--Leila Bouchekouk


One day that I will never forget is August 18, 2014, because of the impact it had upon me. When I woke up that morning I knew that I would be going to the United Nations to see Malala Yousafzai and the United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. However, when my I arrived with my group and saw the two of them in action answering questions and elaborating on the 8 Millennium Development Goals, it was clear that they wanted to make sure that in the next 500 days, changes will be made. It was clear that this was something that Malala, SG Ban-Ki Moon, and everyone else in the room was passionate about. It is not too late to complete the promise that the United Nations leaders made in 2000 to ensure that in the following 15 years, our goals to fight poverty, protect the environment, eliminate hunger, eradicate diseases would be accomplished. The energy in the Trusteeship Chamber was enormous; 500 different people from all over the world came together on that one day so we can all make a difference. When the conference was over the conversation did not end, for the next 500 days there will be action to complete the 8 Millennium Development Goals. The most important goal to me is to see every child in school, and that every child in the world will have the opportunity to receive an education, and because of the 500 Days of Action, this goal is not impossible.
--Miriam Bouchekouk