International Youth Day (IYD) is an annual observance established by the United Nations (UN) to celebrate the role of young people in driving change and addressing the challenges they face globally. The observance places emphasis on issues such as quality education, sustainable livelihoods, civic engagement, peace, and security. The aim of IYD is not only to celebrate young people's accomplishments but also to advocate for their inclusion in decision-making processes, thus fostering sustainable development across diverse sectors.
International Youth Day was first observed in August 2000, following a UN General Assembly resolution in December 1999. In South Africa, young people face numerous socio-economic challenges, which are exacerbated by high levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. Despite these adverse conditions, South African youths play a significant role in shaping the country’s future by advocating for improved education, gender equality, and the eradication of poverty and other social maladies. As the largest demographic in South Africa, the youth's potential to contribute to sustainable development across the nation is undeniable. Consequently, initiatives that seek to empower and develop the youth, such as IYD, are essential within the South African context.
Each year, International Youth Day is observed globally on 12th August. The celebration provides a vital platform for young South Africans to join their peers globally in taking action, raising awareness, and driving change on issues that affect their well-being and future prospects. By engaging in dialogue, advocating for their rights, and participating in diverse activities, the youth of South Africa continue to make valuable contributions to the country's development while commemorating the importance of this international observance.
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