UN e-discussion on youth employments

The United Nations Programme on Youth is inviting young leaders to participate in an e-discussion on youth employment, which will contribute directly to the online World Youth Report 2011. The e-discussion, opened since October 11th and closing November 7th, aims to explore young people’s perspectives of the transition from schools and training institutions into the world of work.

The e-discussion is intended to serve as a forum for young people and representatives of youth-led organizations to share their experiences, views and recommendations on preparing for, entering, and remaining active in the workforce. Throughout each week, a broad theme will be explored in depth from a social lens through diverse views and perspectives.

The e-discussion will be accessible in three languages (English, Spanish, French) at:

Story of Empowerment – Thoumiyan Soundaram

Changes that YMCA brings into your life:  the story of Thoumiyan Soundaram

When Thoumiyan is asked why he is involved in YMCA, he answers that YMCA has given him the platform to change his life towards youth leadership and development and if a person want to feel this unique type of change that YMCA brings into one’s spirit, mind and body, he or she should, in Thoumiyan’s opinion, join and be active in YMCA.

Thoumiyan came to his local YMCA-Jaffna, which is one of the oldest and well-known YMCAs in his country, to participate in sports and recreational activities in May 1998. Why did he choose YMCA ? There is a YMCA hostel that offers rooms for travellers in his hometown. That was difficult not to notice it. Also, Thoumiyan understood it as soon as he got involved into YMCA activities as a volunteer, the organization gives young people a great opportunity to develop their individuality, to come out of their closed world, to meet different interesting people from other communities, to learn a lot about themselves and about others. All these YMCA opportunities were very important for Thoumiyan who lived in the northern part of Sri Lanka that suffered for years from the Civil war and thus couldn’t give a lot to a young person. Moreover, he really appreciates the YMCA people who are, in his opinion, very open-minded, united and have a real desire to empower youth and help them with their problems.

As a young leader Thoumiyan has achieved great results within YMCA. Today he is mostly busy as a member of the Youth Committee and other committees of National Council of YMCAs Sri Lanka. The Youth committee collects information on the youth needs, problems, challenges and interests, analyses it and helps local YMCAs put priorities in their activities and develop new programs, which focus, in particular, on sport, recreation, leadership development, peace building and reconciliation, environment and climate change and vocational training.

Speaking about the changes that the YMCA brought into his life, Thoumiyan resumes : « I am who I am thanks to YMCA ». Thoumiyan would like to continue volunteering for YMCA in the future as he believes that there is a big potential and responsibility for YMCA to play a major role in youth empowerment in order to bring some betterment for the country and for its young generation in particular.

By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna , Belarus

Story of Empowerment – Arcilon Rocha

Arcilon Junior is a young YMCA volunteer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He’s been involved in YMCA activities from his early childhood. As a 3-years-old boy he started with swimming, and today Arcilon, 27 years old, is a YMCA Sao Paulo Board member and he is engaged in advocacy work as a YMCA representative at the International Youth forum.

This forum that was formed in 2008 provides youth organizations with the possibility to discuss, to share opinions on various problems of young people which are very often the same in different corners of the world.  The advocacy work, done within this movement, is important for making a better future for the youth of tomorrow.

The problems discussed at the Forum include, for example, youth education, leadership, unemployment, etc. Youth organizations, and the YMCA represented by Arcilon Junior in particular, address governments with the demand to solve these problems. And they offer various solutions themselves: creation of new workplaces, development of business opportunities, recognition of international diplomas, etc. The Forum is open for discussions with governments thus giving them the possibility to talk to youth representatives who, working directly with young people, are much more familiar with their anxieties and worries. The Forum’s position on youth issues is currently developed in the form of the Youth Convention.

Working in the field of advocacy for four years already, Arcilon Junior feels the progress on two levels: personal and the Forum’s ones.  He has learned a lot during this time about advocacy, now he has much more knowledge about it that he uses in his everyday YMCA activities. And the Youth forum after a hard work, in Arcilon’s opinion, has been finally recognized by governments that started to listen to it and take its conclusions into consideration.

Arcilon wants to continue his advocacy work even though it’s not that easy. But on his way he is encouraged by his own life philosophy according to which Arcilon believes in the possibility to bring some change to the society by the power of advocacy even if it demands a lot of time and effort.

By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna , Belarus