To arrive at solutions that can be used in society as a whole. This is more than an abstract, its hands on and it is the reality that we face every day. Instead of staying ashore we wade in the water by taking action.
Why civil society? Because they are the voices that need to be heard, through platforms like the one in Suriname on May 21 and 22, the IV Caribbean Civil Society Consultative Groups Meeting, where together we are trying to arrive at solutions for our societies.
As a society we know the needs of our children, youth and community. The government’s focus is not on individual issues. Civil society however, will bring attention to these needs and bring the government, private sector, and communities the attention which really matters. The real heroes of the story are those who get involved, roll up their sleeves and get the work done. Some people might call them the rebel rousers of the community.
The meeting touched a relevant topic for all of us, Youth at Risk, and what became crystal clear is that we need to pay attention to our youth before they are lost, we need to create opportunities and teach them soft skills. As Hilary Clinton famously said, “It takes a village to raise a child”.
So what should we do for those children that fall into the circle of crime and drugs? They are not vipers, they are not garbage, and they are and our children, mine and yours. But how can the youth resist the easy money of the streets? How can we compete with the value of goods versus work and education?
Some of the answers were to promote role models in society, who are the young real heroes of today. Teaching good values and attitudes to truly develop growth; create meaningful interventions in areas of their interest like music and sports; communicate through innovative media but also through good leaders’ examples. Invest in education and skills to support initiatives for valuable contributions. Lastly, get personally involved – mentor or adopted a child in your community that is struggling and needs help. Each one can save one.
Are you involved in the change? Many of us are!