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Call 1: Change the language of poverty: Young people deserve dignity, not stigma and discrimination

By Josh, Rebecca, Divine and Somer

My name is Young Person X.

I live in Possilpark in a two-bedroom flat with my five brothers and my mum. There are always people fighting outside, running deals and causing trouble. I struggle at school, I am bullied for where I come from and for my poverty. My life is a struggle.

We are young person X. This is not our story but it is one that people tell about us and young people like us. They may mean well, but it causes us problems, enforcing stereotypes, lowering our confidence and people’s expectations of us.

My name is Young Person X.

I live in Possilpark in a two-bedroom flat with my five brothers and my mum. We are close. Despite some struggles I’m doing well at school, I have lots of friends and there’s lots going on in my community. I play football, a musical instrument and have lots of opportunities to volunteer. My community has struggles but folk are welcoming and it is wonderfully diverse, with lots of opportunities to explore and play.

This is our story. We do not gloss over the struggles, but they do not define us. By having our story told in this way we are affirmed and people’s expectations and stereotypes are changed.

We need you, everyone in society, to think about how you use our story. We know this is not always easy. The media want to highlight the challenges, charities need to justify the great work that they do, and funders want to know that they are reaching those in need.

But we want you to focus more on the achievements and difference that can be made rather than the problems we face. Look for our strengths amidst the troubles rather than just the troubles. And where possible, allow us to tell our own story.

We know it is not always easy, but we believe another way is possible.

We believe this is a better way.

The GK Experience and PEEK work with and support the four young people who contributed our number one call. With thanks to them, to Andrew Tomlinson and Martin Johnstone from the Church of Scotland, and to Inspiring Scotland.

Follow #25Calls to see which organisations have endorsed this call.

Preamble of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: '...the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity...'

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