Noelia: “Sitting around at home is not really my thing”
“I enjoy having lots to do every day. Sitting around at home is not really my thing. Sport and exercise are important to me. I dance jazz and belong to a gymnastics club, where I do apparatus and floor gymnastics. I am also a member of the Mugg circus troupe in Glarus. The family that run the circus have established a permanent circus village in Betschwanden, where they offer holiday courses to the public. It is also possible to book the circus to perform at functions and weddings. When the circus family are looking for young acrobats, they often ask me to perform. In addition, I have recently begun working at a local bakery on some weekends.
When my friends and I are together, we rarely talk about politics. And when we do, it is more about things like climate change and plastic pollution. Lately, I have often been asking myself whether I want to be part of today’s rat race – even though I am also ambitious.
Unfortunately, the Landsgemeinde [open-air assembly] at which I could have voted for the first time as a 16-year-old was cancelled because of the pandemic. The procedure in our family is that my parents will take me to the first Landsgemeinde and Gemeindeversammlung [community assembly] at which I can vote. They will then leave it to me to decide whether or not I want to exercise my democratic rights.
In my opinion, giving 16-year-olds the right to vote is also a viable option at national level. It is fair to say that young people like me would know relatively little about the proposals on which they would have to vote. But many adults have little idea either, to be honest – and can still vote. If they lower the voting age to 16, young people would need to learn more about politics at school. Because getting a grasp of all the issues is not easy.”
Born in 2005 and living in Glarus, where she is a pupil at the local cantonal school. Noelia’s main subjects are biology and chemistry. She plans to study medicine.
The portraits of all 16 young people interviewed
- Anne: “I have the vote, so I want to use it”
- Jason: “I am a keen, effective, quick-witted debater”
- Johanna: “We could use our voice to do more against climate change”
- Kimmo: “I would like to sail around the world”
- Juliette: “The decisions that are made do affect the lives of young Swiss citizens”
- Lionel: “We need to create spaces for young people.”
- Yves: “I give my all playing football”
- Moritz: “I take responsibility for my decisions”
- Malin: “Missing a few hours of classroom time is a trifling matter in view of the climate crisis we face”
- Cléo: “Swiss politics? It’s a huge muddle for such a little country.”
- Olivia: “I want to add my voice to the fight against inequality”
- Noelia: “Sitting around at home is not really my thing”
- Lisa: “After all, it is our future at stake”
- Dejwana: “Switzerland? It’s better than Lebanon, where we struggled to be accepted”
- Elena: “I always try to form my own opinion”
- Valérie: “We should start with the little things in our own lives first”