Yu Yang is an Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) Youth Champion in China. A member of the Chinese Youth Network, Yu Yang has worked as a peer educator and is very dedicated to the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people in China and across Asia. Yu Yang, who is 23 years old, is committed to helping other young people make their voices heard.
The following is a recent interview with Yu Yang conducted by IWHC Program Officer Jessie Clyde.
How did you become involved in advocating for sexual and reproductive rights for young people? What drew you to the movement?
I got my initial interest in advocating for young peoples’ sexual and reproductive health and rights after I joined the youth volunteer association of my university. In 2010, I became an active peer educator in my university.
Can you tell us a bit about the organization you work with or volunteer for?
I joined a national level organization, China Youth Network (CYN), that undertakes peer education and advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people (aged 10 to 24).
CYN promotes the implementation of the Programme of Action developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. The Programme of Action emphasizes that sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights and that it is essential to address the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of young people.
In 2012, I joined the ASAP Youth Champions team.
And can you tell us about your new project that came out of the Youth Champion workshop? Specifically, what are you hoping to accomplish or change?
We will try to map Chinese feminist NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and organize a workshop among them. We want to advocate for them to put sexual and reproductive health and rights into their frameworks. Because, in my country, there are few feminist organizations involved in sexual and reproductive health.
Who most inspires you in the work you’re doing?
I have to say it is the other ASAP Youth Champions from across the region who inspire me a lot. ASAP’s Youth Advocacy Institute is a good platform for us to learn from each other.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
I think the biggest challenge in my work would be the lack and instability of young volunteers. All the members of my network are students, so it’s hard for us to have a stable team, which is important for any long-term projects.
What is your greatest dream/vision for your community or country?
My dream is that everyone’s voices, especially young people’s, are respected, and all young people are able to enjoy their sexual lives free from ill-health, unwanted pregnancy, violence, and discrimination.
What are some encouraging signs or changes you’ve seen?
More and more provincial governments are encouraged by the UN’S development goals and have decided to include comprehensive sexuality education. And my organization is providing technical assistance to these governments, which means they are supportive of our work.