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Youth Kingdom

By Jayashika Padmasiri
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 other.
For further details check out their website www.youthkingdom.net

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