Today, the 12th August 2017, we celebrate International Youth Day, established by the UN and first celebrated in 2000. International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation – as well as inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace. We salute the youth who are actively committed to building their futures, educating and empowering themselves and their communities for a better future.
More Community Trust is firmly committed to educating the youth of South Africa. We are devoted to creating opportunities for a prosperous future by ensuring that the young receive a valuable education. Education is the answer to so many of our country’s problems: poverty, unemployment, crime, environmental awareness – the list goes on. On top of the crucial need for education is the UN’s courageous and wise approach to include the youth in decision-making to ensure sustainability. We believe in the urgency of ensuring that our youth are equipped, empowered and prepared to face the challenges of the future.
As we continue to practise our purpose through access to basic education, we proudly break ground on Jabez Preschool. The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is ‘Youth Building Peace’, and what better way to celebrate that than by building a school and creating the opportunity for children to receive an education. The importance of Early Childhood Development cannot be understated: the early years not only play a crucial role in brain development, but these first experiences affect physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Early childhood is therefore the most important time to invest in a child’s learning and future success. Rural communities have limited access to education, and some children have no choice but to walk for over an hour to get to the closest school. We believe that it is our social responsibility to support them.
With the youth in SA consisting of 19 million individuals, 37% percent of the total population, it is crucial that we ensure that they are able to contribute to our society. Sadly, more than two thirds of youngsters between the ages of 18 and 35 years old are unemployed (according to a 2009 study). Why are we failing? As the country’s youth (myself included) what can we do better? How can we do our part?
I recently had the privilege of attending the MORE Purpose and Value workshop, conducted by our fearless leader, Robert More. The company purpose is ‘To create experiences and opportunities to enrich people’s lives.’ The workshop opened my eyes to revisiting my personal purpose, and the values I want to live by. I’m so fortunate that I am able to live my personal purpose through the work we do with More Community Trust.
To the youth, I have this message. I challenge you all to evaluate who you are, what you want and what your purpose is. Establish a directive for your life, values to live by and personal goals that you would like to achieve – and set about finding ways to achieve them. With these firmly in place, you will have the drive and motivation to shoot for the stars and chase whatever life you want.
We are the future leaders, the peacemakers and the key to the sustainability of our country. Let us learn from the mistakes of previous generations and not be scared to make some mistakes of your own. Failure is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather a part of how we develop and strengthen ourselves. Take failure humbly, learn from it and better yourself – regard it as one of life’s beautiful chapters. In the words of Nelson Mandela “I never lose; I either win or learn.”
So I challenge you, as a fellow member of the Youth of South Africa: we have a massive responsibility on our shoulders to fix what we and previous generations have broken; to achieve what has failed and to rebuild our society and our environment for our future and for generations to come. Learn, read, ask questions, challenge ideas, challenge yourself and keep striving to be better. Then act, take care of our environment, take care of our society – and, last but not least, take care of each other.
Happy Youth Day!
With great respect and gratitude,
More Community Trust