The 16 of June marks the commemoration of youth day in South Africa, celebrating the unmatched bravery shown by the youth of 1976. This day does not only call the world to laud the resilience of the youth but to reflect and track down impactful solutions to some of the biggest challenges that they currently face.
According to a global online survey by the International Labour Organisation, one out of six young persons have stopped working since the onset of the pandemic. Center for Monitoring Indian Economy states that unemployment increased to 7.97% from 6.5% in March this year, with more than 7 million jobs lost in April.
Data published by Statistics South Africa at the start of June shows that the official unemployment rate among youth (15-34 years) was 46.3% in Q1 2021. UNICEF also reports that young people aged between 13 and 29 have also experienced peak levels of anxiety and depression during the lockdown period.
Covid 19 has meted the world’s economic downturn and recession due to the lockdown restrictions, leaving several young helmed businesses in the cold. Digital migration in the educational sector has also highlighted a gap, leaving many students and scholars in disdain due to lack of access to information and technology.
The World Economic Forum suggests that some students without reliable internet access and technology struggle to participate in digital learning.
However, not all is bleak as this time offers us a chance to reflect, a yardstick to decode where we can lend a helping hand and inspire change. Young people are the actors and engines of absolute change. They define their path and create a sustainable future while facing an unprecedented set of circumstances.
For several young entrepreneurs and creatives across the globe, lockdown became a period of sheer creativity and offered time to bring ideas to fruition.
GBR notes the contributions of young people such as Mamadou Diagne in Senegal, who distributes face masks to vulnerable communities to help slow down the spread of Covid 19.
We pat the shoulder of future leaders such as South Africa’s Sibu Mabena, an entrepreneur and founder of Duma Collective, for the #R10GoesALongWay initiative that raised R1 million in less than a week towards registration fees for university students.