Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The reality of life as a teenager in the UK and overseas

Map of students' locations in Haiti, Afghanistan, Singapore and the UK

Young people in Haiti, Afghanistan, Singapore and the UK capture their concerns in a series of reports below. Some of the students related their experiences directly to teenagers in another country with the help of BBC News, as part of the School Report project.

Tony Grant, the producer of From Our Own Correspondent on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4 comments: "For more than 50 years, From Our Own Correspondent has not only been examining the context and background to some of the stories in the news, it's also been hearing how people live their lives in other parts of the world.

Here, School Report brings us exciting contributions from the youngest-ever 'correspondents' and a unique insight into the very different challenges of growing up in a variety of countries. These young reporters explore what it's like coping in places torn apart by earthquake or war; living in a nation which imposes strict rules on its citizens or dealing with the problems which disability can bring.

As you will see, these young reporters approach their subjects with refreshing insight and honesty. Their reports make compelling reading."

By Dyeanise
From Haiti

School Reporter Dyeanise in Haiti
Dyeanise lost her grandmother as a result of the earthquake

When the earthquake started, I thought that it was the end of the world. When I went out I saw that everyone was crying for their family

In that moment, I thought of my family. I was imagining what could happen to them because they were down-town at work.

I grabbed my phone, trying to call my mum and my grandma.

Soon I saw my mum and I asked her about my grandma. She said that a brick had broken her two feet.

At 8 o'clock in the evening, she died. My aunt knew that she was dead but at first she didn't say anything to me.

When I found out, I cried all the tears I could.

I'm still at school and people say I'm a little bit crazy but I know I'm not crazy.

By Will
From Newcastle, UK

Will had both his legs below the knee and part of his left arm amputated due to meningitis
Will uses prosthetic legs and running blades

I cope well with my day-to-day life and like the fact that I go to a main-stream school. To some people it may seem that my disability is pretty serious and extremely hard to live with.

At the age of two I had both of my legs below the knee and part of my left arm amputated due to meningitis. To me it just seems normal and I feel lucky to only have that amount of disability.

The school I go to helps me to lead as normal a life as possible and get away from the fact that I have a disability. I can be with my friends and can take part in normal lessons. My school has lifts so I can access all classrooms easily. It's a bit tricky when people try to get a free ride on my wheel chair.

I recently competed in the national junior disability swimming championships and won two gold medals, one silver medal and beat two of my personal best times.

My favourite lesson is P.E. If you think that's surprising, I recently competed in the national junior disability swimming championships and won two gold medals, one silver medal and beat two of my personal best times. My ambition is to swim in the 2016 Paralympics. At the moment I swim regionally for the North-East in the disability squad. The coaches are brilliant.

I walk on two prosthetic legs. I also have running blades which you may have seen athletes wearing at the Paralympics. I can run and keep up with my friends when we run around in the school yard.

Having my prosthetic limbs helps me because I can access my friends homes and when I go to a restaurant or to the local cricket club because I can just walk up and ask at the bar for a bag of crisps and a drink.

When my legs are sore or tired and I can't use them, I use a wheelchair. I even pick up a lot of speed going down hill, it's all part of the fun!

By Muhammad, Hawa, Habibulla and Ramzia
From Kabul, Afghanistan

In the morning when we open the window, we wish to see a view of peace, but we see the smoke of explosions, the shout of injured people, the sound of sadness and poverty and the buzz of attacks.

But, while we were speaking with the children form the UK, we were not feeling like we were in Afghanistan because we had never thought one day we would be able to share with them with such friendly manner and with so much brotherhood.

We understood that they were non-Muslims but again they empathised with our situation and they expressed their sympathy saying we were very brave.

Speaking with the children, we got some information about the UK, and the education system and school life there, which was very useful for us.

We came to appreciate the importance of unbiased behaviour, of friendship, sincerity and the taste of freedom and peace that the children in Afghanistan are looking forward to. We have these words on our lips and are tirelessly repeating them.

What we really appreciate is that even though we are different, we have some similarities such as having pets, hanging out with friends and playing instruments. It is really amazing how two sets of different nationalities get on together so well when they have never seen each other before.

By Kitty
From Hove, Brighton, UK

School Reporters from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove

Reporting on the Atlantic rising

The more you see or hear about global warming and rising sea levels, the more desensitised you become - but perhaps it is time to stop and take a really serious look at what they mean.

In the next 100 years, Atlantic sea levels are predicted to rise by one-metre. The consequences for people and the environment could be devastating. Many communities will have their lives seriously disrupted and the coastal landscape may change forever. Some of these changes will be the result of erosion and others the result of the steps people will take, to keep the sea at bay.

Over the past few months a project called Atlantic Rising has been helping students in several schools around Britain and Africa to develop a better understanding of the potential consequences of a one-metre rise in Atlantic sea levels.

It may be reassuring for people to know that there are young people around the world who are concerned about the impact of changing sea levels

The team have embarked on journey around the Atlantic Ocean, following the one-metre contour line to document the changes that could occur as a result of the predicted sea level rise.

Before setting off the they visited several schools in Britain, including ours, Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove. We got involved by following a blog of the expedition and sending them questions and issues to investigate.

We also wrote letters expressing our opinion on global warming and speculated on what the impact of a rise in sea level might be on our stretch of coastline. The team will drop these letters in a special buoy in the middle of the Atlantic as they cross from Africa to Brazil. The buoy can be tracked by satellite and it is thought it will be picked up and transported by ocean currents. Eventually, the letters may be washed up on a coastline hundreds of miles away for people in other countries to discover.

Pupils at Cardinal Newman School  share concerns about Atlantic rising
Pupils are tracking a team on an Atlantic voyage.

It may be reassuring for people to know that there are young people around the world who are concerned about the impact of changing sea levels and who may have a voice in the future that could bring about change which may reduce its impact.

My family and friends are aware of the global warming crisis. By doing small things such as cycling to the park, taking the bus to town and switching off electrical appliances at home, we are making a contribution towards reducing the green house gasses in the atmosphere which could help to reduce global warming. If everybody made small changes to their lifestyles the impact could be significant.

By Ben
From Singapore

School Reporters Benjamin in Singapore
As a teenager, Ben finds the rules in Singapore restrictive

Singapore is a very safe country. The crime rates are low and I can go wherever I want to, without fear. Singapore is a sheltered and peaceful place. There are no conflicts overseas and no conflict at home.

But the other thing about Singapore is the rules! The rule that aggravates me the most is that chewing gum is illegal.

Rules mean that what's missing is the buzz that gets us excited when we do things with an edge. It's what teenagers thrive off, after all. I know that if I lived anywhere else I would not be able to do half of what I do now, to have the freedom to be so independent and move around without fear, but I miss the excitement all the same.

The main thing that bothers me about Singapore is that there is very little that's exciting to do, especially for teenagers. There are a few places where you can go and have a good time but these places are only fun once. Furthermore they cost a fortune and as a teenager I can't afford that all the time.

Maybe the grass is always greener. Singapore gives me a security and peace of mind that so many other children in the world don't have the good fortune to experience.

By Nitesh
From London, UK

Nitesh on the left, Villiers School
Nitesh talks about the effects of globalisation

I am from Villiers High School in Southall West London and I want to talk about how the future of young people could be affected by globalisation.

Globalisation means the competition for the best jobs is international. So many countries are creating young people with more talents, more skills, more languages in the race for the best jobs.

The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship is a project which allows 100 young people from different backgrounds and schools to experience life in Brazil, China or India. They have a chance to discover what globalisation is and what the impact will be on the young people of the UK.

Nitesh and fellow School Reporters outside radio studio
Nitesh holds a script and waits with colleagues outside radio studio

We contacted two "Global Fellows" who went to China. One of them, Chelsea, explained what globalisation means and told us about her six weeks in China. She's now learning Mandarin at university as a result of her trip.

The big multinational companies are expanding and setting up all over the world. Speaking English is no big deal any more. If you can do deals in Mandarin, Russian, or Japanese then you are in the competition.

Reporting on the Atlantic rising
19 Mar 10 |  School Report
Haiti quake pupils look to future
11 Mar 10 |  School Report
Learning about Kabul's dangers
04 Mar 10 |  School Report
Tales of quake sorrow from Haiti
04 Mar 10 |  School Report


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