My name is Ishmael Tee Muzenda. I am a 21 year old undergraduate student at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa studying a Bachelor of Science in Economic Geography. I believe that one day I am going to be a successful Environmental Consultant.
A lot of people don’t take young people seriously; they think that we are all about fun and pleasure. I agree, we love life and live it to the fullest but we are also very concerned about the things happening around us and would like to see a brighter future for the next generation and ourselves.
The future I hope for sometimes feels like a distant dream. A quick read through media reports can be depressing. For example, the last few months have been littered with news on determined migrants who have been drowning on their way to Europe from North Africa. Guess what – some of them are my age-mates – they are young. I have asked myself what would drive a young man to risk his life on a boat to go to a country they know nothing about. The answer I got was clear – it can only be very dire circumstances at home.
In most African countries, there is a lot of talk about youth unemployment and the challenges young people face to secure jobs. Actually, this is not an exaggeration as research says that more than 12 million African youth enter the job market each year. While this is true, there is also a lot of talk about the new sustainable goals. These new goals if implemented effectively represent hope and possibilities for many young people like me. The new goals could be the actualization of our dream of nations that offer a radically improved quality of life especially in the poorer countries and hopefully, an end to these senseless deaths in the ocean. A successful policy should see an end to all forms of human suffering.
Here are five reasons why I care about the new development goals:
- I want to see an end to poverty – poverty affects the extent to which we realize our success. It reduces our life expectancy and the quality of life we lead.
- I don’t want any person regardless of their race or gender to go without food, clean water, and access to health care – fundamental human rights.
- I would like to ensure that every person has access to education.
- I would like the economies of poor countries to grow so that me and my friends can be guaranteed of a job when we finish our degrees.
- I would also like to live in a society where all men and women are treated as equals.
As a young person, I would also like to see policy makers and governments across Africa taking these new goals seriously, remembering that it is our future they are making decisions on.
So as we commemorate International Youth Day and wait for the officiating of the new goals and their enactment in various countries, I would like to add my voice to the millions of people who want to see an end to extreme poverty in its various forms across third world countries! I would like to urge every young person to raise their voice(s) and demand a better future, and most crucially not only for themselves, but also for the generations to come!
Join Ishmael to take a stand for a brighter future, add your voice to the fight against extreme poverty in all its forms. Sign the petition!