Somalia celebrates international youth day

By IAfrica
In Somali
Aug 13th, 2014
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Somali youth


Somalis joined the rest of the world in marking the International Youth Day in Mogadishu. In a ceremony held at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, young Somalis entertained guests with dance, drama and martial arts.

Young Somalis struggle with conflict-related challenges, as well as minimal opportunities for gainful employment and education. Despite these hurdles, many of the country’s youth remained undaunted and in fact resolute in their determination to transform their future.

“Today I’m campaigning for Somali youth to participate or start a new system and if combined with the Somali government achieve its goals towards peace and progress. So let us stop crime, drugs and violence and let’s start a new life, let’s go to schools, let us go to education,” says Abdullahi Mohamud Tahlil who attended the event.14716656609_20c5fb3382_z

Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed says his government is strongly invested in the country’s youth, seeing them as a ticket out of Somalia’s checkered history of divisive politics and lack of cohesion.

“Young people are the strength of the society. The mind is at its best in its youth. It’s a mind that is not prejudiced, does not carry ethnic bias but rather thinks about development and a bright future. It’s a peaceful mind,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Philipe Lazzarini lauded young people across their country for their fortitude and resilience.

“Despite all these challenges, Somali youths have shown a great sense of optimism when it comes to the future of the country. They want opportunities to go to school and they want opportunities for employment,” said Lazzarini, adding that youth “want to be heard and participate in politics and build the nation.”

With young people making up between 65-70% of the population, investing in Somalia’s youth is a critical part of planning the country’s future.

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