International Youth Day
Each year on August 12th, youth are celebrated as the world observes International Youth Day. The youth are considered to be persons between the ages of 15 and 24. International Youth Day aims to promote systems which support the youth including educational institutions, legal aid systems, career counselling, social services, youth councils, and health services. The youth face many challenges and a collective effort by all members of the society is needed to help the youth overcome these challenges and to thrive, for the youth are the future of the society.
The International Youth Day theme this year was: Safe Spaces for Youth
According to the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), the designated areas of priority concerning youth are Education, Employment, Hunger and Poverty, Health, Environment, Delinquency, Drug Abuse, HIV and AIDS, Young Women and Girls, Participation, Globalisation, Intergenerational Relations, Conflict, Communication Technologies, and Leisure Time Activities. This year, the International Youth Day theme focused on creating safe spaces for youth to come together and engage in conversations and activities which allow them to express themselves and participate in decision-making. The issues of bullying, discrimination, drug or alcohol addiction, and physical, sexual and verbal abuse, tend to create spaces in which youth would often feel uncomfortable, unsafe, degraded and worthless. Safe spaces need to include civic spaces, public spaces and digital spaces, which would allow youth to feel included, comfortable and respected. Safe spaces should also allow for intergenerational dialogue, where the youth can feel empowered to share their ideas and opinions with adults and decision-makers.
What can you do?
All members of society should support the creation and maintenance of safe spaces for youth. Public spaces like parks and playing fields, civic spaces including government institutions, and digital spaces online, should be made safe for the youth to engage meaningfully and comfortably. Additionally, through your interaction with youth, they can be reassured that your presence is also a safe space in which they are welcomed, respected and valued.
In Saint Lucia, there was a mobile health clinic providing health services for youth and children in Ciceron on Saturday 11th August. This clinic was organized by RISE-St Lucia Inc. Additionally, the Saint Lucia National Youth Council embarked on a social media campaign recognising leaders of youth and sports councils, who have made positive contributions to youth development. Follow the Saint Lucia National Youth Council on social media to find out how you can support the youth and youth activities in Saint Lucia.