Taking a closer look at safe spaces for the youth
Human Touch Foundation celebrated International Youth Day with a panel discussion on ‘Creating Safe Spaces and Building Social Assets for Young’. Safe Spaces for Youth are platforms where youngsters can come together to freely express themselves, engage in activities and interests and participate in decision-making processes
Human Touch Foundation marked International Youth Day with a panel discussion in line with the theme for the year, ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’. The event, held at the Lecture Hall of Sanskruti Bhavan, Patto-Panjim, received tremendous participation from the youth. The panellists for the discussion were Elvis Gomes, President of Goa Football Association; Esther Torres, Former member of the South Goa Child Welfare Committee; Sangeeta Naik, Executive Editor Digital Media Goa; and Kenneth Alvares, student and young entrepreneur from Don Bosco College. The session was moderated by entrepreneur Evencio Quadros. Sangeeta, while speaking about ‘Enabling online safe spaces for children and youth’, gave the audience an insight into the digital spaces and use of technology productively. She also gave the youth a list of helpful links to aid them to expand their horizons. While speaking about ‘child-friendly safe places for children in need and girls’, Esther stressed that in terms of spaces, Goa does not lack in anything, but the safety of such spaces is a question. Elvis, who spoke about ‘Creating safe spaces for young people through sport’, said that though there are a lot of opportunities in sports, these can be an unsafe space too. “It all comes down to the fact that the children and youth need to have access to somebody who won’t betray their trust, and we need to give them that,” he said.Representing the voice of the youth, Kenneth spoke about ‘Creating safe spaces – a youth perspective’. He pointed out that there needs to be a space in the educational system that can help children grow from a young age and make the right choices for their career. Safe Spaces for Youth are platforms where youth can come together to freely express themselves, engage in activities and interests and participate in decision-making processes. Available and accessible physical or virtual spaces can help youth feel valued and advance their cognitive, emotional and social skills! The people at Human Touch Foundation believe that youth from diverse backgrounds especially need to be assured of respect and self-worth. Similarly, without the existence of safe space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. Earlier, while giving an opening remark, Peter F Borges, CEO of Human Touch Foundation, reminded the young people that they need to get more engaged in spaces and policy making with the government. He highlighted that by 2020, India will be the youngest country with an average age of 29 and hence the young people will be demographic dividend. “International Youth Day is a reminder for the whole world that youth is an essential segment of the world population; therefore we should all celebrate them, support them, empower them and depend on their energy to change the world, “ said Peter.“Providing youth with safe spaces will always allow them to be more creative and to reveal the best of them and to engage more with their countries and its development,” he added. The event also announced the winners of the short film competition ‘Get High on Life’ organised earlier this year by the Human Touch Foundation. Maryanne De Souza won the first place in the open category for her film ‘Irrevocable’, while Nitish Naik won the second place for his film ‘Jinechem Darpan – EkValakh’, and Mcvean Pereira won the consolation prize for his film ‘6 Teen’. The winners in the student category were BTS Productions for the film ‘Kick’ in the first place, Devraj Parab Gaonkar won the second place for his film ‘Jivanachem Moll’ and Sheena Pereira secured the consolation prize for her film ‘Crushed Final’. The evening ended with the screening of the winning films, ‘Irrevocable’ and ‘Kick’. The film competition was sponsored by GKB Hi-Tech Lenses Pvt. Ltd. Tivim.
How the World prioritises Safe Spaces for Youth The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, emphasises the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanisation. Furthermore, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) reiterates the need for public spaces for youth to enable them to interact with family and have constructive inter-generational dialogue. Additionally, the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) which is the UN framework for youth development, prioritises the provision of ‘leisure activities’ as essential to the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people. As more and more youth grow in a technologically connected world, they aspire to engage deeper in political, civic and social matters, and the availability and accessibility of safe spaces becomes even more crucial to make this a reality.
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