Youth want a piece of society too


Youth representatives from various groups and non-governmental organisations have demanded that youngsters be allotted a viable space in the society to play an effective role in the development of the country.
The representatives were speaking at a youth camp with the title “Youth: Present and Future, Exploring Spaces for Participation, Action and Change,” organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at Jinnah Medical and Dental College Auditorium on Saturday. The event was part of PILER’s thirty years celebrations in solidarity with labour.
The youth took up various issues concerning education, art, politics, media and social entrepreneurship and emphasised the need for increased role of the youth in every sphere of the society.
Students from various educational institutions, including University of Karachi (KU), Visual Study Centre, University of Sindh (SU), Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) and Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), participated in the discussions.
Students in their presentations spoke on various issues and showed their career aspirations.
The programme moderator, KU Pakistan Study Centre Director Dr Jaffar Ahmed, said that youth face challenges such as where to explore the ways of achieving their targets.
“It is difficult to create space in the society and choose the future line of action,” he said. “For this, the youth have to have a clear vision.”
“I have been in the teaching profession for the past 26 years and have had interactions with the youth on many occasions. Having social science perspective, I usually listen to people accusing the youth of disobedience and not following in the footprints of their elders. But I say today’s youth is better than the past and they should be understood in a proper perspective.”
“We have the energy in terms of youth coming up with new ideas. They want to stage dramas but they do not have a place for that. There is no space for youth to do politics and play their effective role,” he said adding that it is the responsibility of the society, government, academia and parents to provide them space so they may dream and play a constructive role.
Andeel Ali talked about the youth for social entrepreneurship and said how he formed a youth group, which he registered with the Youth Parliament. He asked the participants to identify their vision what they want to do in the future. He advised them to take the burning issues facing the society is facing. He asked them to work to address the same.
“Making institutions is not difficult if the vision is clearer. Get inspirations from the work done by some legendary people of the world and take a start from that. If the vision is clearer we can develop social venture. Keep national cause in the mind to continue work,” he added.
SU’s Warsia Thebo talked about the status of female education in the rural areas of Sindh. Belonging to the Umerkot district in Thar Desert, she shared her experiences on how the girls face difficulties in dreaming for getting higher education. “The entire society is male-dominant and hostile towards women,” she opined.
“The dowry system in the rural society has pushed young girls to think how to save their own future and break these traditional barriers. Girls are being considered nothing but brainless dolls,” Thebo said.
She expressed concern over the deteriorating education environment in the universities, saying when girls dare to break the barriers of the society and reach a university, they face hostile attitudes and an unfavourable atmosphere.
“As a result they have to leave their education halfway,” she said. “I saw how many of my colleagues left their education incomplete because of these hurdles. So these might be seen at government levels and given a space to these poor girls to brighten their future on their own.”
Abdullah Qamar, a Fine Arts student, shared his experiences he got during his education career. He advised the youth to choose the directions to give something to the society. Artists are struggling to make money instead of playing their role to change the society through their ideas and colours.
Negating sophistication, he said that the youth should be simple while talking to common people because if they behave sophisticatedly, they will not allow you to enter in their circles. “It is quite difficult to learn from the experiences of vendors, shopkeepers, and auto-mechanics,” he added.
SZABIST’s Bilal Badi said youth can create a space through education. He gave examples how genius people got space to engage themselves. He asked the youth instead of aspiration to become right they should engage themselves politically to play role for the social change.
Mass Communication student Shahzadi Kunwal while giving her presentation on youth and media criticised the Pakistani media persons, who sometimes run unconfirmed news, misguiding the society but are reluctant to encourage the work being done by youth.
She appealed to the politicians, government and academia to change attitude towards the youth and give them due respect.
“Because of ignorance, the youth, the builders of the society, may take a wrong turn tomorrow,” she said. “Due to denial of rights the youth may become subversive elements of different political parties instead of playing a constructive role.”
Earlier, PILER’s Zeenia Shaukat spelled out the Youth Camp objectives. She said the youth today has emerged as a powerful voice in education, research, media, theatre and other fields. Youth has access to communication, and are playing inspiring role. They should come forward with clear understanding what they want to do and achieve this by themselves.