Message from us
“Young people are the future.” This adage is used in almost every presentation about our generation. Although it does convey the necessity for an educated and empowered youth, it misses one crucial detail that most of us have overlooked, which is our importance in the “today” world. It is time for all of us to ask ourselves, “Have adolescents been taken seriously enough to develop themselves and contribute their talents in developing our world?” It is time for a new acknowledgement that says, “We are not the future, we are NOW!”, for adolescents all over the world to speak out and their voices to be heard.
As adolescents, nowadays, we have to face many challenges and hardships that adults may never have experienced. This gap has made it, at times, impossible for adults to understand what the younger generation is going through. This gap, coupled with the inability to voice our opinions, has made adolescence in our world today that much harder. For this reason, we believe that it is vital that the world listens to us to learn about what it is to be an adolescent today, what needs to be done and what adolescents can do to create a better place for all, because it is not just games and fun that adolescents care about. And thanks to The State of the World’s Children this year, many of those topics have been addressed, and hopefully there will be a difference.
To make this publication a reality, adolescents from all around the globe have shared with us their thoughts, feelings and/or real stories either about themselves or about people they know. Each of the adolescent voices, whether speaking of personal problems or of regional and global issues, has its own strong message to show the world the many diverse aspects of an adolescent’s life today. However, it is important to keep in mind that this publication contains a collection of truths, but like each adolescent, each truth is unique and invokes an individual’s experience and does not necessarily represent all adolescent experiences or truths.
By creating this, we all hope that something will be changed for good. It is our goal that people in every level and sector – government leaders, non-governmental organizations, parents, religious leaders and adolescents themselves – will be more aware of what is really happening to our generation nowadays. As you read the contributions found in this publication we ask that you put yourself in the situations of those children and adolescents across the world, to consider and listen to their ideas and voices. And if you find yourself asking, “What can I do?”, we have provided you, at the end of the publication, with ideas for reflection, communication, exploration, sharing and action.
The voices of the adolescents of our world have to be heard and taken into consideration during decision-making in their communities as well as in their countries. Without support, young people can hardly express and develop their initiatives. We hope this publication will give all decision makers ideas to design more appropriate interventions and to facilitate the needs of the adolescents in their families, communities, programmes and countries. More action needs to be taken to help young people develop and achieve their goals and objectives, so that we can be the present and the future that the world needs.
Our wish is that you take away from these contributions, not just the challenges that are faced by adolescents, but our hope and fervent desire for a more united world that can create better lives for all.
The New York and Global Reference Teams – Amira, Anthony, Boramey, Desmond Nji A., Helen, Jessie, Josephine, Mohammed, Patrina, Quynh, Signa and Spero.