Empower youths for sustainable living

WE need to make significant differences in the quality of life of our youths by creating positive changes for them.

Youths nowadays are becoming more engaged, qualitatively and quantitatively, to assume effective roles in our societies with exposure to better education and modern communication facilities and tools.

As the saying goes, “the young shall inherit the earth”. But are we supporting our youths to lead the next world? Are we doing enough to empower them in decision-making and socio-economic discussions such as climate change, child labour, human rights, green energy, for them to offer valued inputs and create an impact?

We witnessed our youths in action in the last 15th general election. It is time we equip them in civic engagement. However, without access to resources and opportunities to participate in positive change making, their voices will be curtailed.

We must review our current model and redesign it accordingly to fulfil this objective, especially with the new unity government under the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who himself was a former youth leader in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

The question is how do we engage our youths in urban sustainable development? A special programme should be introduced with the aim to inform youths on sustainable development, and financial assistance offered to support them throughout the programme. Participants should be given training on the necessary skills, knowledge and networking, complete with a certificate of achievement to assist them in their job hunt.

A programme imparting skills and knowledge as youth ambassadors in the community should also be introduced, with resources and social capital allotted for the function. They can join as volunteers, event organisers and social innovation builders.

These type of programmes will increase their diversity in the community, and they will be better prepared to be involved in civic engagement. These programmes should also focus on equipping them as youth leaders and professional apprentices, to enable, especially the B40 youths, to build a career.

The future is in the hands of our youths, and they have the power to bring about change. What they need is a driving force. And, they will succeed if they are given the opportunities for development.

C. Sathasivam Sitheravellu


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