Being young is not easy. Being a teenager is even hard. Many are the
moments that we go in front of a mirror and try to figure out who we
are, and what we are supposed to do. Are we what we see in the mirror?
Just a reflection of skin, flesh and hair, and does that image reflect
who we really are? But the fact is that the youth can do much more for
the development of the country. They have the capacity to work and they
bring about new ideas for considerable, significant events.
The youth in Sri Lanka are becoming very active. Many organizations are
being formed around the country to representing various groups of youth.
There is a movement to link all these separately functioning groups
together. On the 21st of March I attended a media conference introducing
a web portal that facilitates networking of youth organizations.
Their vision is to be the uncontested leader in youth networking in Sri
Lanka, ensuring the empowerment and activism of youth. “The Youth
Kingdom” was established in 1998 and this organization works in the
areas of poverty mitigation, good governance, conflict resolution, human
rights, ethnic reconciliation, HIV/ AIDS, leadership training, life
skills development, career guidance / counseling. From their website one
can get policy documents related to youth, youth forums, youth news,
skills development and a career guidance page, learning place,
sponsorship and funding. Their goal is to increase access and retention
as well as to improve the living conditions of youth on par with the
millennium development goals.
Is this just another youth organization from the many? Let’s hope that
it is not. The problems of the young people are many. And their voices
are barely recognized; the voices they raise are seldom heard. With so
many youth organizations in Sri Lanka it is a paradox to see that so
many problems regarding youth still exist.
The objectives of the Youth Kingdom are to bring the youth of Sri Lanka
together. To foster development of youth, be a showcase for the events
and upcoming projects of the youth organizations, to engender awareness
regarding notices of rules, regulations, gazette notifications, statutes
affecting youth. The objectives also include open communication
platforms for the youth, opportunities for social responsibility,
counseling, career guidance platform and to create awareness of
contemporary issues such as peace building, gender equality, youth
activism, unemployment and under-employment, youth unrest. They also
plan to have an online-resource centre for youth, introduction of ICT
(Information and Communication Technology) to youth, umbrella- site for
youth organizations and to facilitate youth responsibilities.
How does this youth organization differ from numerous other youth
organizations? It does not differ, but the whole purpose of this
organization is to link and to connect all the youth organizations
existing around Sri Lanka together. Programme Director, Senaka
Dambawinne said, “What we want to do is to create contact between the
various groups and organizations, because otherwise, we believe that
nothing significant will happen concerning the youth.”
Many are the subjects for discussion, or problems that face youth. Some
are mentioned above and some are not. But what is the youth, youth in
any country. We say “welcome to our world” but what is this world and
who and what are we actually welcoming? - “Voice of the youth”, so fine,
let’s raise our voice and make our voices heard. With the many
activities and organizations representing youth, connecting the youth
and surrounding the youth, youth are now given a platform unlike any
For further details check out their website