How Well Do We Care for the 700,000 Young People in BiH?

“How well do we care for youth” is the question the Institute for Youth Development KULT is asking on August 12 – International Youth Day.

By putting up flags in the city center, from Trg djece Sarajeva to the tram turning loop in Skenderija reading “How well do we care for youth?”, the Institute is using the International Youth Day to draw attention to the multitude of challenges and the difficult position BiH youth are in.

There are 700,000 youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined by law as persons aged 15-30.

These 700,000 youth are mostly unemployed, they are unsatisfied with the education and healthcare system, they lack opportunities to show what they can do, and they are not being rewarded for their talents. These are youth who don’t feel safe in this country, who don’t see a future for themselves here, who are leaving in droves.

In 1999, the United Nations (UN) declared August 12 International Youth Day. It has been celebrated every year since 1999 to promote youth activism and recognize the efforts and actions by youth around the world contributing to positive changes, development and economic welfare of communities and the society in general.

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This year’s youth day was dedicated to creating safe spaces for youth to meet and engage in activities that meet their various needs and interests, and to express themselves freely. Meanwhile, in BiH, we are focused on the inadequate implementation of the Law on Youth, lack of youth strategies in all entities and at the state level. We are focused on unemployment and lack of prospects that cause youth to leave the country.

How are we caring for youth if we don’t have the space, the time and plans for keeping them in BiH, making their lives easier and worthy of a young person? How can we transform this country into one where youth want to live, where they want to create and contribute and where they want to return?!

What can Bosnia and Herzegovina expect from its youth when it hasn’t cared for them adequately for more than 20 years, and how can we respond to the needs and problems of youth in all parts of BiH?

Why don’t government representatives see youth as partners and provide them with the time and space to share their excellent solutions to the challenges faced by our country?

Youth in all parts of BiH, in all its villages and cities, deserve to be an active part of the society that participates in decision making! All the communities in BiH and their youth must encourage and pay attention to youth who are even more marginalized and excluded from the society. Without this strategic approach that provides youth with a role, mechanisms and time to contribute, there will be no better life of future for this country. Seeing how many youth are leaving the country tells us exactly how well we care for them.

The answer to the question “How well do we take care of youth” will be given by every level of government in BiH, through a dialogue with youth across BiH, because youth will be the ones providing the solutions.

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