International Youth Day is celebrated every year on 12th August and was founded in the year 2000, by the United Nations. The purpose of International Youth Day is to develop awareness of cultural and legal issues that affect youths and to help engage young people to become active in creating positive changes in their community.
Every year, International Youth Day celebrates important themes, for example, in 2016, Youth Leading Sustainability had been celebrated, to help end poverty and to help making food and water more accessible for those in need. Last year in 2017, International Youth Day had been dedicated to celebrating contributions from younger people against inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace.
This year, the theme of International Youth Day is ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’. The United Nations believe that youths need safe spaces where they can come together, getting involved in decision making processes and expressing themselves. Safe spaces also ensures dignity and safety of the youth, such as public spaces. Where youths are able feel safe and to get involved in activities, for example sports.
Another reason why safe spaces are important for young people, as it can lead to development and peace. This is important for youths from various race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background, as having a safe space can lead them to feel more comfortable and to be able to express themselves.
Across the world, countries will be celebrating International Youth Day by running various activities; but last year, according to the UN website, there were only three activities being held in the UK! One in London, which was ran be the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The event was held online (via Twitter) with discussion of the issues faced by young refugees. The second event was held by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Northamptonshire, which hosted various activities and provided information regarding youth services. The third event was held around Glasgow, ran by Gender and Adolescence Evidence, which was a webinar event.
This year, why not and have a go at creating and running your event to celebrate IYD?
How does UNA Exchange relate to International Youth Day this year?
UNA Exchange offers various opportunities for volunteers to create ‘safe spaces’ for young people and children, for example, we have an upcoming project called ‘Vietnam: Interacting with children at CA BA’ (which has places for 8 males and 7 females). The project is hosted by SJ Vietnam, which is an international youth non-governmental organisation, which promotes solidarity, peace and tolerance through youth citizenship projects to improve society. During the project, volunteers will be organising activities for the children, helping out by renovating a school and running activities to increase awareness of youth and local people about the environment. Another project SJ Vietnam is holding is project ‘HAPPY SUMMMER FOR POOR CHILDREN’ (8 males/ 7 females needed). Volunteers will be creating a safe space for children that are living in poverty by organising games and leisure activities, teaching English through games, activities and songs, as well as decorating the kindergarten.
If these volunteering projects interest you, check out our project page: Click here.