The TEDxYouth@Khartoum team asked me to come to their first speaker rehearsal with an idea.
When I got there, I didn’t know what to expect. I had an idea, but I didn’t know if it would be any good, or if it was even TEDx material. But what made me feel more confident was that at the rehearsal, everyone around me was young, so I felt like I was surrounded by people who would understand me.
After fellow speaker Wafa Elamin spoke, I went for it. I was nervous and shaky, but still confident that I could share an idea. I got positive feedback, and I started gaining confidence day after day and rehearsal after rehearsal.
Every rehearsal, different people would step forward and share a new idea. By the looks on the faces around the room, it was clear that everyone was quite interested in these new thoughts. We provided each speaker with thorough feedback.
During the rehearsals, I met so many extraordinary young people. Some of them were speakers, and others just came to tell us what they thought about what we were sharing. There was one girl, a nine-year-old, who came up to me to tell me that she thought that my talk was very fun, and that she enjoyed it very much. At that moment, even though the event was ahead of us, I felt like I had accomplished so much.
At the final rehearsal, we got to see the polished version of each talk, and the results were astonishing. People had truly benefitted from the practice — even the people who had started out as strong speakers had clearly improved. What was great became outstanding. We also got a little preview of the event’s performances, such as Madeeh, a group of Sudanese youth who create spoken word and rap.
On the day of the event, everyone was over the moon. The number of people who showed up was spectacular. We had attendees in the room, people following us on Twitter, and viewers of our livestreaming event. It was an amazing feeling to know that we were reaching so many people — Sudanese youth in particular.
When it was time for my talk, I was a bit nervous. But the moment I stepped on stage, I was instantly relieved. I felt genuinely compelled to share my ideas with the audience. I wanted to show everyone that we youth have something powerful within us — that we have creative ideas in us, that we are the change, and that we can do it.
Watching the other speakers perform was surreal. Some of them far exceeded their best practice talks. It felt as though I was hearing their talks for the very first time. Being on stage gave them the push that they needed in the rehearsals.
Furthermore, seeing that the event came together so beautifully by youth was such a source of pride to me. These young photographers, technicians, and all of the people behind the scenes were exactly the reason that this event was so brilliant.
I was approached after the event by young children, parents, and university students, all of whom told me that they enjoyed my talk, and that they will try to be heroes every day. I was overwhelmed with emotion and a sense of accomplishment. I had reached the goal I had set out to reach.
All of the event’s talks inspired me. Wafa told me to think positively. Amal told me that as a young woman, I can have it all. Samreen showed me how to improve myself. Nazim encouraged me to help a young child.
I now realize that what I can do for my community is so much more than I ever thought I could do. I have the desire to tell every single person that he or she can be a hero, and that together we are the building blocks of this nation.
I’ve come out of this shared experience at TEDxYouth@Khartoum with new friends, colleagues, and acquaintances — a new family!
Written by Amna Khalid, a young speaker at TEDxYouth@Khartoum.