Give Us a Voice


connect-20333_640As a college student who is just one short year away from graduation, I often sit in my classes and think about my future once I get my diploma. In truth, it may seem easier to get a job in the United States, but this is certainly not applicable to all those in search for decent work. Then, we must think about the situation in other nations, especially developing nations. In these nations, full employment and decent work may be more unattainable. The promotion of an equal access to opportunities will be key in ensuring that every person, regardless of where they are, will have a bright future. As Article 23 of my favorite document, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states: “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” Employment is a human right and should be regarded as such wherever and whenever.

The Commission on Social Development’s focus on empowerment and achievement of the three pillars of poverty eradication, social integration, and full employment and decent work for all, could not be more appropriate because all three are interconnected. For example, poverty viciously affects a young person’s ability to access adequate education and professional skills training. This lack of education and professional training increases the chances for the youth to be discriminated against in the job market, therefore increasing poverty. It truly is a great challenge facing the youth today, but with proper measures in the eradication of poverty, we will be able to meet the basic needs of a person, such as education, shelter, food, water,etc., increase the accessibility to search for full employment and decent work and social integration as well. By doing so, we are empowering the ingenuity, capabilities, and endless creativity of a human being. We all have the capability to foster our creativity and potential to its fullest extent. Therefore, we are also empowering human dignity.

The youth representatives of Belgium brought about four points that could help solve the challenge of youth unemployment. First, they said that we must “fight the discrimination against young people in the job market.” Second, we must “tackle the mismatch between education and the labor market” and make sure that schools are prepared to teach the proper skills that job markets look for. Third, was the representatives’ support for the establishment of “global coordination tools” such as the Youth Employment Network. Finally, the representatives stated their demand for a “seat at the table where their future is being decided.” Ultimately, it is our futures and our goals that will be affected if this crisis is not solved. They suggest, and I concur in solidarity, that the youth must be thought of as partners in this effort of decreasing youth unemployment.  It is often said that “The youth is the future” or that “It is now up to the youth.” Yes, this is a heavy responsibility, but it must be our contributions, our ideas and our creativity that will provide a better future for our children and our families. “Give us a voice!” said the Belgian representatives.

This responsible partnership with the global community the representatives talked about would truly increase our voice in policies that will ultimately affect us. Being the future of this global community, our voice together will be even stronger. Shouldn’t my voice be heard for my future? Shouldn’t our voice be heard for OUR future?

By John Sapida, Intern at WYA HQ, New York.

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