My name is Constantin-Alexandru, I am 22 years old, and I am originally from Romania. This year I had the honor to receive the title of Young European from Schwarzkopf Stiftung Junges Europa. My journey as a volunteer started when I was a thirteen-year-old student and a representative of my school student council. While seeing the injustices connected with school student rights violations by the government and local authorities, we decided to act. I, alongside my peers, got inspired to fight injustices and make student voices heard on a national level. We formed the first independent student association in our country called “Constanta’s School Students Association” representing the students’ rights in our home county, Constanta, and in the entire country. Through our activities and legal actions, getting desired education became less challenging for the youth.
After our campaigns, the school students’ rights to scholarships and discounts on public transport are now respected by the local authorities from Constanta. Moreover, now the government provides free textbooks for the students from eleventh and twelfth years, which was not the case before our advocacy campaign in 2016. After high school, I continued to be active in the fight for educational justice at the Romanian Academic Society. The most recent successful campaign ensured that the Romanian government guarantees every child in need a minimum scholarship and invests ca. 110 million EUR of the national budget.
„The crucial part of volunteering is the notion that we learn something new, a new set of skills or values that we might not learn at school. From volunteering, we become the citizens of tomorrow - the active citizens that our communities need. “
I saw the importance of volunteering from an early age as me and my peers voluntarily formed and worked in the school student association. The crucial part of volunteering is the notion that we learn something new, a new set of skills or values that we might not learn at school. From volunteering, we become the citizens of tomorrow - the active citizens that our communities need. We follow democratic values while fighting injustices and respect others' rights. We become the citizens who are fighting to bring a change, are assertive to society's problems, and, most importantly, adapt to any circumstances. I think the COVID-19 crisis illustrated the importance of being adaptable and dedicated to your job.
Volunteering is an action that pushes us to become more active and do as many selfless good deeds for the community as possible. So, I would like to encourage everyone to fight for a change and not be afraid to commit to different projects, even if they seem challenging at first. Nowadays, I also manage the Clean “Schools Project”. It tries to empower school students to become active on a local level and fight injustices related to scholarships or investments in education from the local authorities. Through these types of projects, I hope that the next generation will become even more dedicated to fighting for human rights and will bring positive changes in their countries or communities.