Igli - Albania


18-year-old Igli is a Global Champion for ending physical and emotional violence against children. After several years of raising awareness for the need of Child Protection workers and services in his community in Albania, Igli is proud to say that they finally have a child protection worker and that child and youth voices are now being represented in the local decision making institutions. Igli has represented his peers at local, national, and international activities and has participated in drafting strategic documents to end violence against children.


Q&A with Igli

lightly edited and condensed for clarity


What is your favourite food to eat? 

I am not fussy about food, so I prefer pretty much anything. Mostly I consume high protein food because I go to the gym often and the protein is key to my muscles. Also, I love anything that my mom cooks.


What is your favourite thing to do for fun?  

My favourite thing to do for fun would surely be reading. I love reading novels and being transported to the world the author has created. Similar to reading, I love listening to music on headphones or listening to music live at festivals with my friends.


Who is your favourite actor/singer/dancer/influencer?

One of my favourite actors is Johnny Depp. My favourite artist is The Weeknd. For influencers I can mention Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro.


What is your favourite memory from your childhood? 

One of my favourite memories as a child is the time where I would be at the beach with my family and go explore with my brothers. We would go on adventures and act like pirates until evening.


What would you tell a future Changemaker? 

The first thing I would tell them is to not be pessimistic. Even though you believe you can't do anything to change something, there is always a way. Another thing as important as the first is not to hold back your thoughts. Express anything you want without being afraid of rejection. The greatest thoughts sleep in the most silent mouths.


What would you say to yourself 5 years ago? 

Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s the best way to learn. Try and fail, but never fail to try.


What is the issue you advocate on and what made you decide to take on this issue?

I advocate on making the youth voices loud enough to be heard and the violence against children to stop.


Why is ending violence against children and the issue you advocate on so important to you? 

Since I was a child, I had so many ambitions on changing the world and I couldn’t wait to grow up, because all the openness of a child is fainted once you get older. Also, violence is the most terrible thing you can do to a human, especially when they are a child.


What difference would you like leaders to make to create real change on the issue you advocate on? 

The change is already being made, but again I strongly advise leaders to listen directly to the youth. To make them comfortable to express their concerns and to take action on things that truly matter for the wellbeing of the new generation.


What would you say to leaders if you had the chance to talk to them directly? 

Dear leaders, I want to bring your attention to the concerns of young people. We are the future of this world, and our voices matter. We are concerned about issues such as climate change, access to education and job opportunities, mental health, and social justice. We want to be heard and to have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that will affect our lives and the world we will inherit. I urge you to listen to our concerns, involve us in the decision-making process, and work with us to create a better future for all.


What is something you hope to accomplish in 1, 5, 10 years?

In 1 and 5 years, I hope I graduate and become very competent in my degree of Software Engineering. Regarding my advocacy work, I hope to take part as much as I can on making a better place for other people and becoming the best version of myself.

In 10 years, I hope to have a family and to be truly happy. I hope to see all the change I have been advocating for the whole of my childhood and teenage years.


What is the most encouraging thing that has happened during your work with this issue? 

I have become a more understanding person. I have learnt to really listen and understand others. Also, I am not held back by myself anymore; I can express my thoughts fluently and without any difficulties.


What five words would you use to describe why the issue you work on is so important to you? 

Childhood, ambition, a better world, peace, wisdom


What is the funniest thing that has happened during your advocacy work? 

The funniest moments would be the late-night jokes I would do with my friends and peers while we would get together on trips.


What challenges have you encountered in your advocacy work?

Limited representation: Often, youth may not have a seat at the table or the opportunity to be involved in decision-making processes that affect their lives. This can result in their concerns being overlooked, and their voices not being heard.

Lack of resources: Advocacy work requires resources, including time, funding, and expertise. Youth-led organizations may face challenges in accessing these resources, which can limit their ability to effectively advocate for change.

Resistance to change: Some decision-makers may be resistant to change or reluctant to implement policies or programs that address the concerns of youth. This can create additional barriers to advocacy efforts.

Diverse perspectives: Youth come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, which can create challenges in achieving a unified message or approach to advocacy. It's important to ensure that all voices are heard and that advocacy efforts are inclusive.

Limited awareness: Sometimes, decision-makers may not be aware of the concerns or issues facing youth. Advocacy efforts must focus on raising awareness and educating decision-makers about these issues to create meaningful change.


Do you advocate alongside other children and young people, and how do they inspire you? 

I advocate alongside all my peers because I can't do anything alone. Every one of my peers inspires me in their own way, and all together they encourage me to keep going and give hope to me that all this work will be worth it someday.


If you could pick one personal memory or achievement around ending violence against children, what would it be? 

Personally, I would pick all the meetings we did with other children and all the campaigns against ending child violence. That ended up to finally having a child protection worker in my community and our presence in the decision-making institutions.


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