If successful, she will spend the next two years with a special side-job – in a kind of UN internship through a Dutch youth organisation called NJR – travelling around the Netherlands talking with young people about their views of the challenges and issues that affect them. The position will take up about 24 hours a week, just like an internship, and she will be mentored by a senior student representative.
“I know what I want to change, but instead I will be taking young people’s opinions to the politicians and policy makers and to the UN so that their voices are heard in the decisions being made that affect their future,” she said.
“Everyone has the right to write their own story, but inequalities in society mean that not everyone gets the chance to do so. I want to change this. Many young people are politically motivated and active, but they have no access to the politicians’ world.”
“As a young person sometimes I’ve found myself powerless with no voice – it’s such a big problem that can only be changed at policy level, and now I have the opportunity to have that voice. What I am most looking forward to is talking to my generation to find solutions – we have the energy and willingness to do so. I feel their energy and enthusiasm, and I hope I can get the message through. That’s really exciting.”
She said: “There are 300,000 kids in the Netherlands that go to school without breakfast, and during the Covid-19 pandemic many kids didn’t have a laptop or internet access or even a space at home to learn, so their life chances are inhibited. This made me angry. I want to focus on underprivileged young people.”
Hievda’s campaign for human rights and safety focusing on young people echoes SDG4 which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. “We can all try and achieve all the SDGs but we can’t do that if we don’t look after everyone, and bring everyone along with us,” she said.
Voting opens on Friday 22 October and runs until Friday 29 October. Hievda is up for election against one other candidate for the single vacancy as the Netherlands’ student representative.
Hievda applied to become Youth Representative with a motivation letter and was among 12 from around 60 applicants to be invited for an interview. She was invited to join a preliminary round of pitching in early October, when she and three other applicants pitched their campaigns and give a workshop to a jury of diverse peers – students from high school and vocational colleges, and recent bachelor graduates – to win one of the two places in the shortlist for election.
She hopes to join RSM’s MSc Strategic Management programme next year.
You can vote for Hievda here: https://stem.njr.nl/vote/hievda-elgersma.html.