WHO STANDS UP FOR YOUTH?
Ever tried to give some thoughts on the theme of 2018 International Youth Day – #Safespaces4youth
A safe space is where young people can have access to information and support without being judged, discriminated or criticized. A safe space is where a young person can be counseled with love. A safe space is where the (unskilled youth) can learn new skills to better opposition themselves for decent employment. A safe space is an environment free from pollution. A safe space should represent access to quality, equitable education and healthcare services for all. A safe space must provide mental and physical safety.
Oh yea, I’m talking about safe spaces for youth. The youth need safe spaces to operate. Young people often lack opportunities to achieve their dreams, especially, young people who lives in rural and pre-urban communities – they live through life eating on peoples’ palms.
Just like every young person, Tonye was a girl full of dreams. Her dreams was to become a surgeon. At 5 years old, she had told her parents that she wanted to be a surgeon, luckily, her parents had money at the time – so they were able to afford good education for her. At 9, she passed for a secondary school education, and was enrolled in one of the best schools in Port Harcourt. But Tonye’s dreams came crashing when she loss her entire family in an autocrash and she never completed her education – always locked up in her uncle’s house. Tonye became a nanny. A child caring for a child.
Tonye never saw school again. She became vulnerable – was given out in marriage to a complete stranger. She hawks before she could eat, she was deprived of everything she ever needed as a young person to survive and thrive until her death.
For sure, there was never a safe space for Tonye, she should had gone back to school. There was no safe space for Tonye to live in, further her education; No one to defend her against all odds. She pushed harder for a safer space just to achieve her dreams, No, it was shattered away by close relatives.
So many young people lack access to basic opportunities to thrive like having first twelve years of quality education. Every other day, millions of youth are harassed, abused, molested, maltreated and deprived of fundamental human rights. Over one thousand rape cases are recorded in court (forever) seeking for Justice. A safe space for young people must include assurance of physical and psychological safety.
Youth are skillful, they got guts and are talented. They must be invested in for sustainable development because youth run the world.
Happy International Youth Day #IYD