Celebrating resilience on International Youth Day
12 Aug 22
August 12 marks International Youth Day, a day raising awareness of the cultural and economic issues that impact youth worldwide. Led by the United Nations, this year’s theme is ‘Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages’, highlighting certain barriers including intergenerational gender norms and ageism affecting people both young and old.
At Caritas Australia, we’re committed to empowering young people as they are the future leaders of our world. Together, we can support the next generation to forge a path out of poverty and create a better tomorrow for all.
Did you know?
There are approximately 1.8 billion young people aged 10 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population.
More than 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60% are girls.
75 million young people are trained but have no job.
Across many countries worldwide, your support is helping to empower young people with the skills and knowledge to create a better future for their families and communities.
In southern Mozambique, 12-year-old Anatercia struggled to cope with adult responsibilities after her father passed away when she was only four. After his death, Anatercia, her brother, and her sick mother moved in with their elderly grandparents into a small hut with no electricity or a hospital, secondary school and supermarket nearby.
Over time, Anatercia's grandfather became blind, and her grandmother could no longer walk to their farm, which was their only source of income. Their crops withered from neglect and extreme weather events, and the family often went hungry.
Despite her young age, Anatercia took on more and more responsibilities around the home to support her struggling grandparents. Her education began to suffer as Anatercia needed to help her family by travelling hours daily to collect water.
"We have run out of food several times. I help my family with the farm, cooking, fetching water and firewood, and caring for my mother. I also assist my grandfather in feeding, as he has difficulty in picking up utensils due to blindness."
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Anatercia and her family joined the Integrated Rural Development Program, supported by Caritas Australia's partner, Caritas Regional Chokwe, which provided them with food, seeds, school supplies, and a school uniform for Anatercia. They also helped install a system of taps in the village so Anatercia and fellow community members no longer needed to walk hours to collect water.
Caritas Regional Chokwe also successfully lobbied the government to extend the school to 6th grade so that children like Anatercia can continue to study close to home rather than walking for hours to a neighbouring school.
Now, Anatercia can dedicate more time to her education with hopes of fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse.
"I have enough time to take care of my mother because I have water close to the house, I am studying here in the community, and the farm gives us food all year round. Thank you, Caritas Australia."
Youth in Australia take action on ecological justice
Across Australia, many passionate young people are driven to make a lasting impact for our world under constant threat from climate change and environmental degradation
"Young people saying they are genuinely worried about the future of our world due to lack of water security, rising sea levels, pollution in our waterways and the depletion of food is incredibly eye-opening and moving,” says Sabrina Stevens, Caritas Australia Youth Participation Officer.
“They are also extremely worried about our duty to care for our fellow humans worldwide whose voices are not being heard, nor are their basic human rights being met. Even when they are voicing their concerns and sharing the highs and lows, they are bringing fresh perspective and ideas about these issues and that is the energy we need when it comes to walking this road together."
At Caritas Australia, our Youth Programs focus on engaging youth and young adults in the areas of social and ecological justice. Our programs are aimed at senior secondary students (Years 10-12) and young adults aged 18-30 years.
Caritas Australia Walking with God Program
This program helps young adults to connect with the wonder and awe of God’s Creation through reflection and prayer and is a tool of engagement for young people to come together and connect with creation around them.
Catholic Earthcare Youth Summits
The Summits are student-led, student-designed eco summits aiming to facilitate purposeful participation, dialogue and leadership opportunity for senior secondary students in ecological justice and caring for our common home.
"For me to be in a position at Caritas that helps to encourage, support and amplify the voices of the young people to be activists of change on the issues they are passionate about is a big deal for me. I hope to continue supporting young people in the journey to creating a world for all ages and future generations."