Young woman pleads for youth’s voices to be heard

Nanoua Ewekia speaking during the PIFS meeting in Tuvalu. Picture: AQELA SUSU

A YOUNG Tuvaluan woman is hoping that the plight of her people will be seriously taken into consideration as leaders of the 18 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum meet in Funafuti this week.

The 20-year-old was born in Fiji and grew up in Suva.

Nanoua Ewekia moved to Tuvalu in 2017 where she has experienced the devastating effects of climate change on her people.

As leaders converge in Funafuti for the 50th PIF Leaders Meeting this week, she said all she wanted was for leaders to engage youths in decision-making about climate change.

“I don’t want youths to just listen on the side. I want youths to speak our minds,” said the youth co-ordinator at the Tuvalu Youth Council.

Ms Ewekia also questioned leaders about how they would feel if they lost their home, their identity and their language.

“You’ll have nowhere to turn to.”

In his opening statement during the Climate Change Sautalaga on Monday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama offered the people of Tuvalu to relocate to Fiji should industrial nations continued to ignore their plight.

The youth advocate appreciated the offer, but said the relocation would be a difficult choice for her people.

“As a youth, I don’t feel like moving out of my country.

“I’m not really sure if we can adapt to the culture, the language in your country.

“I want to stay here. “If we have to move and adapt to another environment, we will lose half of our language, our culture and our future generation will not know where we come from.”

More Stories