The theme for the United Nations International Youth Day (12 August) is Safe spaces for youth. Online, the day is being marked with the hashtag #youthday.
“Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth,” says the UN.
Adolescents and young adults aged 24 years and younger make up nearly 40% of the world’s population.
Safe spaces include digital ones, which enable youth to interact virtually across borders with everyone. Safe spaces are also inclusive, so that youth from diverse backgrounds especially those from outside the local community, can be assured of respect and self-worth.
“When youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion,” adds the UN.
The World Programme of Action for Youth the UN framework for youth development, states that “leisure activities” are essential to the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people.