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Reflecting on International Youth Day

Last Monday was the UN's International Youth Day. Learning about this year's theme, "Transforming Education," reminds us at KINMN that education is one of the most powerful tools to change the future, and the importance of giving youth a voice in improving education systems across the globe.

 “The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth.”

— UN Secretary-General António Guterres

International Youth Day is celebrated each year on August 12. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day was “Transforming Education.” The focus was on how governments, young people, and youth-focused organizations can make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, needs, and abilities. Countless studies have shown that education plays a pivotal role in youth development, and in turn, how educated children benefit all areas of society. Poor education not only stunts academic success, but also reinforces intergenerational poverty and promotes inequality.

Goal 4 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” While education is a goal itself, it is also a “development multiplier,” meaning it is a crucial piece to ensuring the success of many of the other 16 goals such as poverty eradication, economic growth, and reducing inequalities. 

However, students often have the least-heard voices when it comes to enacting change, and for that reason, this year youth were included in the discussion themselves. Young people were given a chance to self-advocate and address barriers they face when it comes to learning, a refreshing approach to seeking improvements, particularly for marginalized youth. 

As a youth-focused organization, the Kids In Need Foundation recognizes the importance of transforming education so it can be an instrument of both student success and significant societal change. It is our hope, that by providing the tools students need to learn in the classroom, we are lending a hand in the effort to make education more inclusive and accessible for youth across the country.

To learn more about how youth are speaking out for youth, visit https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/iyd2019.html or follow them on twitter @UN4Youth | @UNDESASocial and on Facebook at facebook.com/UN4Youth

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