Seychelles celebrates International Youth Day | 13 August 2020
Yesterday was International Youth Day, a day dedicated to the youth across the world to hear their voices, understand their needs, recognise and celebrate their achievements. To mark the occasion in Seychelles, the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC) organised an event which also served as a platform to officially launch this year’s Youth Festival.
The theme for this year's International Youth Day is ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’. The day seeks to raise awareness about the ways in which the engagement of youth at the local, national and international levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes. The theme also focuses on how the representation and engagement of youth in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
Present at the ceremony yesterday at the ICCS were President Danny Faure, Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondon, who also assumes the portfolio of Youth Minister, principal secretary for youth and sports Fabian Palmyre, the chief executive of SNYC, Penny Belmont, staff and members of SNYC, among other guests.
In his address President Faure noted that many youths in the country have seized the opportunity given to them and have overcome the obstacle that life has thrown at them.
“The United Nations has reported that the new generation of young people has been greatly affected, the pandemic has not spared anyone but youth across the world have become particularly vulnerable as education and employment sectors are badly affected,” said the President.
The head of State continued by saying that in Seychelles the government took immediate actions to minimise the financial impact of Covid-19 through schemes and programmes designed to help the most vulnerable, noting that today 16,000 people are benefiting from financial aid.
“There is a generation of post-secondary graduates who are not able to find employment, we have Seychellois who have finished university that find themselves unemployed. Today we have 4404 young people who are on the Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS),” noted President Faure.
The president remarked that his number one priority is to make sure that Seychellois do not go to bed hungry.
“We have created internship programmes that will sustain university graduates and place them in an organisation while still benefiting from URS. We also have 303 school leavers who did not attend university or a post-secondary institution, they will be absorbed by the government,” said President Faure.
“I have confidence that everyone will overcome this virus as long as we stay united. Each and every one of us need to become resilient to face the economic crisis we have as it will not be ending anytime soon. It is important that the youths make good decisions as their fate rests in their hands and the choices they make will affect their lives,” said the President.
For her part, Minister Mondon noted that the International Youth Day celebrates the contributions that the youth has to offer globally through actions, initiative and engagement.
“This year’s theme puts in perspective the contributions of youth through their community, nationally through the policies and laws and globally,” said Minister Mondon.
Throughout the years youths in Seychelles have been given the opportunity to develop through the different programmes set by the government and NGOs.
“It is through these opportunities that the youths of Seychelles have obtained leadership skills and competence so I’m sure that young people have what it takes to actively engage on different levels of our society,” said Minister Mondon.
The minister remarked that the confidence and investment placed in our youths can be seen all throughout the country, through the number of young people that are heads of departments and the number of young professionals occupying important positions be it in government or private.
Minister Mondon ended by saying “My wish is that the young people continue to flourish and seize the opportunities that the 2018-2020 youth policy has to offer and that they come forward with innovative ideas to push Seychelles further towards progress.”
Throughout the ceremony testimonies were given by young adults from different backgrounds who talked about overcoming obstacles and forging a path for themselves.
Speaking to the press after the conclusion of the ceremony, Ms Belmont noted that the theme reflects the opportunities that the youths have in Seychelles, noting that there are many opportunities for young people to grow and develop.
“SNYC is an organisation that embrace all youths and it is important that we provide them the platform and the necessary information they need to seek out opportunities,” she said.
In the past the Youth Festival was dominated by sport activities, this year due to the restrictions placed by the health department, the activities have shifted to become more educational.
“During the quarantine we observed that many people, especially the youths, took up cooking and gardening which is why we decided to include this in the activities for the festival. We have limited the activities that we usually have but the quality has not gone down,” said Ms Belmont.
Kids with special needs also have their programme of activities which include a movie day.
“Nothing is permanent so we have to keep going even though certain obstacles have been put in our path. Through the Covid-19 pandemic many people have found themselves changing careers. It is important that everyone knows that they are not alone, there are opportunities and help that is available,” said the CEO.
Activities for this year’s Youth Festival will begin on Friday August 21 will a line-up that will surely catch the attention of the youths in Seychelles.
In celebration of this year’s youth day, the UN has started a social media campaign #31DaysOfYOUth to put the spotlight on the young people and their engagement to bring about global change.
To participate in this, share the issues you are passionate about and the steps you are taking to address them, using the #31DaysofYOUth hashtag. The UN will also be using this hashtag to describe the steps it is taking to include young people in its vital work around the world.
The accompanying photos taken by our photographer Thomas Meriton show some highlights of the ceremony yesterday at the ICCS.