WFR Voices: The Importance of Youth Involvement

Since the humble start of World for Refugees at the beginning of March 2017, our global team of youth leaders has grown exponentially. Our International Communications team received applications from all over the world and we thought it fitting to feature a few of our summer interns and team members in celebration of International Youth Day. This 12th day of August is recognized  annually by the United Nations to highlight that “as agents of change, young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace.” Here at World for Refugees, we couldn’t agree more with this message of youth involvement.

This year’s theme for International Youth Day is “Youth Building Peace”, and so we asked a handful of our interns and team members why they believe youth involvement in the dialogue on the refugee crisis was important, and we received some insightful responses. In this article, the International Communications team is featuring the powerful and passionate voices behind World for Refugees.

Natalia Villaman -Deputy Director of Communications for Graphic Design

Our participation as youth is decisive when it comes to matters like the refugee crises. It is helpful to start the dialogue among us not only with facts, numbers or statistics, but also about the experience that people forced to flee from their countries have to undergo on a daily basis. A great percentage of refugees are children and young adults so we do play an important role, being their closest link to a successful inclusion in our society, environments and daily lives. Forced displacement is unpredictable, traumatic, appalling, deadly, and it is our responsibility to make this transition to safety as humane as possible.

Shaheerea Syed -International Communications Team Intern

The scope and severity of the prevailing refugee crisis is significant in every regard. There is a huge wave of refugees fleeing from various regions of the world from Africa to the Middle East. Since the war broke out in 2011, over five million have fled from Syria alone. The Syrian crisis is being characterized by many as the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. The displacement of such an overwhelming number of people is a tremendous economic and socio-political challenge. The inability to effectively respond to the crisis is a policy failure that will not only raise havoc now but will also have negative consequences for the generations to come.

The magnitude and nature of the refugee crisis necessitates for the youth to take an active role. The first step is understanding the nature of the problem which is then followed by assessing its potential impact. Once this is done, only then can we begin to develop an appropriate response to tackle the issue. With the modern day tools of mass communication and digital interconnectedness at our disposal, the youth have more range of measures and platforms for action than ever. They can use these channels to organize activities like raising awareness, building understanding, developing humanitarian relief, relocation and return responses and spearheading integration programs. Utilizing their political capital, youth can play a crucial and significant role to push refugee crisis on top of the political agenda of world leaders. The youth-led grassroots efforts can help with enriching the political debate revolving around the refugee crisis and assist with creating truly tolerant societies.

Kashish Sandhu -International Communications Team Intern

In the present day scenario the words ‘youth’ is often used for the citizens who are seen as the torch-bearers of the future. It refers to those individuals who will be endowed with the responsibility to take everything forward in a better and more effective way than the previous generation. Therefore, when we see this segment of the population in such a light it is very important that they are well acquainted with the various problems that the world is facing at the moment and develop a way which is empathetic, mature and well strategized to respond to them.

Youth is the working force of the world and it nearly comprises of 18% of the total population. While mentioning and in particular focusing on ‘refugee crisis’ it is very important to have a large chunk of youth involved in this issue because this is one of the biggest crises that the planet earth has ever seen. Youth involvement in such a  scenario becomes essential, as the working force is the force which is directly associated with crisis and development, therefore without their involvement it is nearly impossible to come out of the crisis. Also, as the youth holds the responsibility of making the world a better place to live if we put it across in a very superficial manner, so to make that happen development is primary. Development can only happen when we start to resolve issues. Hence, in this sense too we need youth involvement.

Another very important thing to take a notice of is that when we talk about the youth we are actually talking about youth in general which also includes youth which a part of the diasporic community and has been impacted by the crisis themselves. Involvement of this segment of youth is also extremely crucial because their line of vision will be way different from the rest. Also when the crisis at hand is so diverse and fragmented we need working hands from within and outside to help escape this critical situation. Youth involvement is essential so that because, firstly, the youth is aware of the happenings of the society, and secondly, so that they can work around the problem and find suitable, rational and meaningful solutions. Solutions need a vision which is fresh and unique which the youth provides. Therefore, in general, we can conclude that it is very important for the youth to involve themselves in global issues, but at the same time, it is essential for that other sect of the society too have their stake in the issues.

Mayank Gurnani -International Communications Team Intern

As a part of the world of the future, the youth has a extremely important role to play in the global refugee crisis. We have immense potential to change the way things are and help create a better world for all those who are suffering. We are referred to as the millennial generation and some of us will go on to become world leaders and activists, in such a time it becomes very important to participate effectively in whichever way we can to help as many people as possible. Nearly 40% of the world’s population is between the ages of 15 to 24, with a potential to turn tables around. With each passing day, thousands are affected by the refugee crisis, and over the years millions have been displaced, and it is the youth that can understand this better than anyone else. We have before us the examples of people like Malala, who stood up for what’s right and showed the world that with the courage to do what’s right, nothing in this world is impossible. We are seen as the ‘reserve’ that will run the future, with such huge responsibilities on our shoulders it is important that we deliver the best. We have with us the biggest tool of empowerment: education. Millions of refugees around the globe have no choice but to hope for a better future, they have no choice but to wait for a change to take place; but we do, we are the future, we are their hope and with the right amount of dedication we can ensure that  basic necessities such as food, clothing and education are available to all, regardless of where they are or what they do. Shouting on the internet, unfortunately is not enough, and stronger more concrete steps need to be taken. Sitting in our rooms and just pretending that everything is alright just because it appears so around us, can not change and should not drive us away from the reality of the situation.

With each passing day as in our bed we lay, There’s a child whose only hope is to pray.”

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