A call from our youth

By Kambes Kesolei

Each year, Youth Day comes and goes with all its usual fanfares – sporting events, environmental awareness activities, as well as its fitting timing with the schedule of education awareness week. Nothing in previous Youth Day observances has left us with an issue of youth concern to ponder. But this year was different. From March 13-15, thirty-eight youth delegates representing the states of Palau, the public and private high schools, and Palau Community College, met for three days at the 2010 Palau Youth Convention and issued a resolution with 60 recommendations to the leadership and the community that affects the youth in the area of education, health and social development, and advancements of youth’s livelihood in Palau.

The recommendations put forth by the youth delegates in the 2010 Palau National Youth Convention are priorities that represent issues of concerns “that must be addressed to help effectively improve the needs and livelihood of the youth’s of Palau.”

Listed below in no particular order are some of the priority issues as seen by the youth of Palau that were recommended for action and support from the appropriate ministries and parties in the government and community. Thus, the resolution.

We highly recommend that the ministries/OEK/state governments to:

Incorporate into the educational curriculum Palauan cultural studies (Siukang).

Encourage parents and other relevant family members to have children participate in customary function where they can learn their roles in the family and society as they are transitioning to be adults.

Address the issue of youth prostitution and homelessness and provide assistance to troubled youth.

Establish youth training programs of different areas of interest to be geared towards unemployed and out-of-school youths.

There be harsher punishments or better enforcement of already existing policies regarding child abuse/molestation offenders and law enforcers.

Incorporate programs that help students explore other talents and potentials (e.g. music, art, home economics)

Establish better teacher training where they can become more familiar with the issues that today’s youth are facing and to learn how to better interact with students.

State government employ a contracted full-time youth organizer to be responsible for the development of daily programs for the youth during weekends and after school.

State governments and MOE to consider the following activities: debates on policies; cultural/historical exchange programs; academic programs (e.g. spelling bee, reading camp); performing arts (ngloik, chelitakl, etc.); creative arts (painting, handcrafting, etc.)

Scholarship Office to seek other available sources of funding for scholarships that recognize different student potential (e.g. music scholarship)

There be a focus group made up of people from different age classifications and appropriate government agencies to address and propose possible solutions to the important issue of the clash between modern/western and traditional values that is the main cause of youth identity crisis.

Not to encourage public appreciation in the form of alcohol consumption (e.g. drinking at the conclusion of a big event)

The public to be more conscious of their alcohol consumption habits so that it does not continue as a common practice at gatherings (e.g. omerous el wine ra omengat el sils)

General healthy lifestyle reminders to think, speak, and act positive; accept yourself and be accepting to others; recognize everyone’s contribution; and praise each other for their contributions.

These and many other issues have been identified by the youth as their major areas of concern. Here, they want to be part of the solution. And they are asking us, from the government leaders, appropriate ministries, and members of the community, to count on them “as we work together in order to effectively improve the wellness of the Youth’s of Palau’s advancement and betterment.”

One Comment to “A call from our youth”

  1. Kambes, thank you for posting that. I am happy to hear that the youths are being given the opportunity to voice their concerns and their inclination for a positive tomorrow.
    I am just going to re-post something that I had posted on another site in regards to this.
    *Sometimes, life is a path of relentless punches that never cease in between poundings. From all directions the blows are thrown with no prejudice or mercy to an individual’s life.. Extraordinarily, as adults we often find some inner strength to get up after being knocked out repeatedly.
    Imagine the fact that it is not only a problem that we as adults face in our struggles. It is a part of our Micronesian youth’s bearings in this highly progressive and challenging world. They are raised in societies that are striving to grasp all the foreign cultures and norms, while trying to hold on to every aspect of their traditions. The chaos that ensues within the struggle is projected onto the youths and there is no positive outlet of solutions for them to fall upon.
    There are always going to be problems, therefore, we need to stop and really look at ourselves as a nation. Are we raising productive, contributing and respectable members of the community or are we paving a path towards a more dysfunctional society?
    The youths and young adults of this generation, deserve more credit then is awarded them. They struggle to integrate two different worlds (micro/macro) into their pre-existing volatile world of growing up. As adults, we often take for granted that the youths of today are just as bombarded with the same if not more issues of struggle then we have had to deal with.
    It is time for everyone to end the “Blame Game” and start working on the “Solution Game”. Time is always of essence when dealing with progress, multi-cultural differences, and “our” children.

    Another very important issue that we all need to face is the amount of quality time that we as parents spend with our children. But if we honestly looked deep inside, we would know that we are neglecting our parental duties. Parents are suppose to be the ones nurturing the growth of their children and instilling the cultural concepts into their daily lives. It seems that we are too busy with life in general that we do not have the time to spare for our children. What does that define in terms of where our children are at and the attitudes for which they emanate? Let “the hand that rocks the cradle” to “rule the world” be the biological one and not a substitute.


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