In recent weeks, we have heard statements from leaders on the international stage that we are on the path to eradicating absolute poverty in the next two decades. I'd prefer we wait to 2030 to really celebrate how much we did to close the gap and assure that these numbers reflect all countries and the people in them -- and that no one gets left behind.
My daughter would come home sad everyday. She would cry every week. We would have pep talks regularly, but I could not mend her broken heart. I could not take back the words kids said to my child. Her loneliness haunted me. As a mother, I was watching a child dying on the inside. It was like watching a beautiful flower wilting in the cold.
I was introduced to Minecraft by my son, who was nine at the time. I would ask him to stop watching Minecraft videos, which he seemed addicted to. When he started playing, I asked him to get off the computer and get outside. All parents do this, but few of us take the time to truly understand what it is our kids are really doing on that computer. Well my son, now 10, has taught me a huge lesson.
Parents would agree, the well-being of our children is crucial. That is why it is important to raise awareness about mental health issues affecting youth, to remove the stigma attached, to create a safe space in schools, so that treatment can be sought. Also, directly related to this, improved services for mental health issues facing children and youth is essential.
Earlier today, Toronto City Councillor Georgio Mammoliti caused a stir when he discounted an independent report by Toronto's esteemed Ombudsman, Fiona Crean. In her report, she found that the appointments to city agencies and boards had been "compromised" by political influence. As a public servant, Mammoliti has advocated ideas that are disturbing at best. In a heated exchange, Councillor Perks spoke for all of us when he told Coun. Mammoliti, "Shame on you -- get out of this chamber" and called him a "bully."
Pushing our kids out the door may be the best way to save the planet. In a survey conducted for the David Suzuki Foundation, 70 per cent of Canadian youth said they spend an hour or less a day in the open air. And when they are out, it's usually to go from one place to another. In other words, it's just a consequence of trying to be somewhere else.
The issue of age recently exploded in the Ugandan media when a 19-year-old woman won a by-election in Usuk, Uganda. How could someone so young, so inexperienced, adequately represent her constituents? In Uganda, as in Canada, the youth are the ones bearing the brunt of the global economic crisis, and yet are facing constant criticism for being entitled for wanting a good education and decent jobs. They have a right to be represented and heard.
This fall, hundreds of youth will come together in Ottawa for a weekend of education, training, networking and more to empower our generation to build the movement we need for a just and sustainable future. Called PowerShift, this is both a gathering but also a call for what Canada desperately needs. We need to shift the way we power our society and give people the power to build the future they want. Don't believe me? Here are 10 reasons Canada is in desperate need of a PowerShift.
This need for an inter-generational politics is especially relevant in the context of an interesting debate that has been playing out in the Globe and Mail on the topic of youth engagement in politics. It is great to see this debate in a major Canadian newspaper and especially with youth themselves as the protagonists.
In the course of my work at Plan I see so many young people with great potential of their own who have so few opportunities to explore or express it. Still, they bravely persist in striving to make their mark on the world, even in contexts of deprivation and conflict. Programs like Girls Making Media and International Youth Day, youth are changing the world.
Universities are often called ivory towers -- elite institutions open only to those who can afford the cost. When Lloyd Axworthy took over as President of the University of Winnipeg in 2004, he resolved to throw open the tower doors to disadvantaged families in the surrounding communities, many of them aboriginal. He developed the Opportunity Fund, which turns post-secondary education from pipe dream to real possibility for aboriginal and low income students.
David McCullough Jr. recently gave a commencement address, in which he told the students the cold, hard reality that "none of you is special." Who is to blame for this? Maybe those very same parents and teachers who are so quick to accuse us of it. The baby boomers, with the best intentions, have made us into what we are today: a generation of spoiled individuals. Why are they surprised?
What's the price of unemployment? In the case of Uganda which has the highest completion rate of primary school education in Africa, but where youth unemployment is at 80 per cent, many Ugandas pay the price of death. Just ask the family of Justine Nalugya who committed suicide in March because she didn't have a job.
Craig and Marc Kielburger are founders of Free The Children and Me to We, a social enterprise. They are authors of "The World Needs Your Kid: Raising ...
We need put aside current quick-fix approaches to youth voter mobilization that have limited effectiveness; be it vote mobs (sorry, Rick Mercer) or reaching out to just students -- and ensure that we're focusing on the more difficult to implement strategies that will actually lead to getting youth to the polls in the long run.