When my mother was 12 years old she had to stop going to school. She had learned the basics of reading, writing and math more or less. But she had to stop her education because she had to help her family work on the farm. You heard me, a farm. She grew up in a tiny village in the mountains of Portugal. She didn’t have what most people did growing up.That was the year 1975. It’s 2018 and at least 61% of the world’s 12-14 years old fail to accomplish basic reading and math skills. In plain words not much has changed since my mom was a kid. There are kids in war driven countries, third world countries and even in countries like America that suffer from a lack of education and opportunities.
That is why the creation of Youth 2030 is important. Youth 2030 is a strategy launched to help address the desperate lack of quality education, skills training, and employment opportunities for young people.The United Nations Secretary General launched Youth 2030, which than sprouted the multi-partnership initiative Generation Unlimited also known as Gen-U. By 2030 there will be 2 billion young women and men seeking opportunities for a bright future throughout the world. That’s a lot of people who are going to be leading. And with such a high number I guess adults finally realize how important we are.
Did you know that 1.8 billion people in the world actually make up the younger generation? That means there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24. My friends and I our included in that statistic. And I can attest for the lack of job opportunities and experience being given.
1.8 billion young people are suffering from lack of schooling, protection, nurture and chances. ⅕ of youth are not employed. ¼ are affected by violence. There are girls who aren’t able to receive any secondary education due to a hierarchy that was placed on them at the dawn of time. Girls around the world are being uneducated, unprotected, discriminated and becoming mothers while still being a child. Children are suffering, dying and not given the chance to be a child.
1.8 billion voices are being shut out. 1.8 billion brains are thirsty for knowledge. 1.8 billion adolescents are hungry for what they deserve as people.
We deserve a seat at the table. Yet are tongues are silenced and we are denied choices.
But We, the youth have a voice. And we are done with being quiet. We know if given the proper materials we can exceed those in power today.
Globally the youth are the largest poverty-stricken group. You are supposed to take care of us aren’t you? But adults can’t just work for us. They need to work with us.
“But you don’t understand.” “You’re still a kid.” Phrases like these are what kids and I have heard our whole lives. But statements like these are excuses. I am a 22 and I am a college student. I’ve had a great education and I’m continuing on my academic path. Therefore I do have a grasp on certain topics such as politics, the economy, the arts and much more and I can prove my knowledge with hard cold facts. I get it. We get it. So why are you still denying me? Why are you still denying us? Why is this still an excuse? Some adults are stuck in the current state of how things are being run not realizing how detrimental they are being, not realizing that we are going to be paying for their mistakes longer than them. We see how the earth is evolving and understand by evolving with it, even causing it in some cases.
We have ideas and solutions to problems around the world. That is why the UN meeting on September 24, 2018 was incredibly emotional and important. We the youth were given a seat and a chance to speak. And although it wasn’t the first time the youth have spoken at the UN, something in the air was definitely different.
The five key points of Generation Unlimited are:
1) Open streams to engage and involve young people.
2) Strengthen their access to education and health services.
3) Empower them economically with developmental strategies.
4) Work harder to ensure our rights are upheld and promote their civic and political engagement.
5) Lastly, prioritize support for the young people in conflict and in humanitarian crisis, including their participation in peace processes.
Here is the general break down of how it will work straight from their website:
“The Co-Creating Solutions with and for Young People meeting brought together over 60 organizations from all sectors to review and evaluate the first cycle of solution co-creation undertaken by Generation Unlimited.
Co-creation brings young people and partners together to help promising solutions go to scale. Those that have delivered results are identified, refined and supported to reach more young people. A dynamic global-local partnership provides technical support, linking field work with global expertise. Young people will be engaged in developing the solutions for scale. They will also be part of an annual co-design contest to create new solutions. Brokerage of technical, political and financial support will be mobilized, including access to information, knowledge and cooperation. Emphasis will be placed on identifying and matching resources for solutions with potential to solve the most urgent problems facing young people.
The co-creation process won’t stop. The most promising solutions for the challenges young people face around the world will reach greater and greater numbers.
GENERATION UNLIMITED YOUTH CHALLENGE:
The Youth Challenge unleashes the creativity and ideas of young people around the world. An inclusive design process will invite young people to actively engage as “solvers” to design solutions to issues they face around learning, skills development, employment and empowerment. The first Youth Challenge takes place in 16 countries. The most promising solutions in each country receive seed funding and mentorship, with the top 5 solutions globally receiving further investment and tailored support from Generation Unlimited partners.
A set of aspirational ‘grand challenge’ incentives to spur the co-creation process are being developed with partners and young people. These new ideas distilled from global trends – such as technology innovation, digitalization, and the new green and care economies – have the potential to overcome barriers to progress for young people.”
“Solutions and Ideas | Generation Unlimited.” UNICEF, 20 Sept. 2018, http://www.genunlimited.org/index_solutions-and-ideas.html.
As someone who has worked with children in the past I know how important their knowledge and understanding of the world is. But here’s a secret. They are a lot smarter than you think. They are capable of having an understanding more than you know. They just need to be given the proper tools and the right direction. Take their bluntness, imagination and ideas sprinkle it with some wisdom, maturity and experience and something amazing can be born.
Therefore it’s our time. The rise of the millennials is coming and we won’t stop. Not until every person is given basic human rights. Not until every child can have access to education, basic needs and opportunities.
We will hunger for more, strive for the best and accomplish the impossible.
Never underestimate a young one’s determination.
Us kids have a bite to match with our bark.