In South Africa, we celebrate June as Youth month. This is because of the June 16 student march that took place in 1976, where black students took to the streets to march for their right to free quality education. Fast forward to 2021 and the youth are not fighting for free quality education but are fighting to be seen and heard. This Youth month, we decided that we needed to make space to hear what is ailing our youth. This is why we hosted a Youth Day event called #SafeSpaces, this was the start of a constant conversation that needs to take place between all teens and the adults in their lives.
The reason we called this event #SafeSpaces, is to highlight that our Clubs are exactly that. Our Clubs are safe spaces where students are free to speak on issues they are facing which range from mental health, substance abuse, harassment, and bullying. In order to launch this initiative, we held our first-ever Youth Forum. The forum was led by our Club teens and gave them a chance to learn more about the issues that affect them and develop ideas to collaborate and support one another. This event is starting this journey of further empowerment of our youth. We hope to see the growth of this forum and use it as a means for us to connect with our Club Members.
As always we need to ensure that we help our teens engage with industry professionals who can further assist them navigate these problems. We would appreciate anyone who is able to offer support and guidance on how to navigate life.