International Youth Day, 12th August
11 Aug 2017
This year International Youth Day is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace. As both a young person and youth worker the social inclusion of all young people has become a passion and a must if we are to create a society which is socially just. At VSI we work with young people through volunteering projects, group work, and one on one. International volunteering projects offer young people the opportunity to meet new people, learn of new cultures, and also learn more about themselves.
Young people are key in the mission for sustainable peace. Our international projects, Ireland based projects and European Voluntary Service (EVS) programmes provide young people with the opportunity to gain some independence. This is especially important in today’s society. In Ireland young people have seen living standards and decent job opportunities decreasing. Due to this young people are now experiencing a stage of prolonged dependence. In other words a lot of young people are dependent on their families for the first 18 years then they become dependent on the state. I believe volunteering, especially internationally, as well as non-formal learning activities can challenge this prolonged dependence. Volunteering has the ability to build young people’s social mobility through non-formal education and experiential learning. The EVS programme gives young people the opportunity to taste and experience a life of independence whether it is for 2 weeks or 12 months. Through volunteering we work to promote peace, social justice, sustainable development and intercultural understanding. Young people being exposed to different cultures can be challenging but equally as rewarding. Volunteering has the power to bring people together for a common goal. Due to this power I think volunteering, especially young people volunteering, is a way to bring about social change and create a socially just society to maintain sustainable peace.
Development education is central to work which is aiming for social justice, equality and peace. There is now a need for development education due to its ever increasing importance in today’s society on all levels; local, national, and global. With young people facing so many issues in modern society it is important for young people to be educated on global issues and providing them with the platform to link global problems and local issues. By doing this and offering young people a safe space to discuss these issues we are empowering young people to find/offer and explore solutions to such issues. I believe in working through partnership with young people, especially in regards to issues that affect them.
It is through these programmes and our commitment to meet the 5 national outcomes for young people, as described in the Irish government’s National Policy Framework ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’, that we in VSI support young people and work with them to raise their social capital, so they can fulfil their potential.
If you are interested in getting involved with VSI, please contact me: Jason Dillon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01 855 1011.
Happy International Youth Day!