The theme of International Youth Day this year is ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ which seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people is enriching the world, and is an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives.
To celebrate this day, we spoke to two of the young people we work with about why young people should be involved in discussions about the future, and what would happen if young people’s voices were not listened to.
Should Young People be involved in discussions about the future?
Luke: Young people should definitely be involved in decision making for the future because they are the ones who will inherit the world.
Milan: Yes, they should use their voices because they have the rights to be a part of the future. They can be involved in discussions and have some big ideas and create awareness from dangers. The one thing that we don’t like is to silence or exclude another person and make him/her feel like being shut out.
Why Should Young People’s voices be heard?
Luke: It’s important for young people’s voices to be heard so we can understand what affects them negatively so we change things in order to make a better world for all. Also, I think that it isn’t just about letting young people talk, it’s about listening and understanding them, not assuming they don’t know anything because they are young.
Milan: Youth voices are important because decisions and policies made today will directly affect us as we inherit the future. Youth and children form about 40% of the world’s population and, in order to achieve sustainable development goals, it is critical to work with young people.
What would happen if young people’s voices weren’t listened to?
Luke: If young people were not listened to then I feel we would not evolve as people and we would just keep making bad mistakes, I also feel that it would affect the young people negatively causing mental health issues which could then affect everybody.
Milan: Well in some cases, people don’t just take part in their future and don’t even care about it. Older people may blame themselves for not listening to young people, as they have missed out on their new ideas and inspirations.