To build peace, we must get young people involved
Dated: 4 July 2017
When you talk about peace and security, many people feel that it is too far away for them to relate to or it is all just the government’s concern. In fact, peace and security has an inevitable, significant effect on every individual in the community--men, women, elders and youngsters.
This important issue has now caught the attention of young people in Thailand’s southern border regions.
Hope Yala is a project run by youths from six schools in six communities of Yala province. It aims to build trust between people of different religious beliefs in the community by creating a safe space to discuss issues and exchange opinions, suggestions or requests concerning youth and community development with everyone participating in decision-making to achieve common goals peacefully. Youths also join in trainings and classroom and other activities that help them realize they should not use violence or join organizations that use violence, and that sustainable solutions are peaceful solutions.
When people in the community are aware of the importance of peaceful processes and know that their goals or their requests can be achieved simply by following peaceful methods, violence will decrease.
Effective peacebuilding requires the participation of everyone in the community including young people. Thus, it is necessary to start the process at the very beginning stages of life. Developing an understanding of peace among children and youth not only makes them know how to solve problems by peaceful methods but also builds proper attitudes towards human rights. They will be aware of the rights they are entitled to and at the same time respect others’ rights. In addition, it can motivate young people to be active in preventing violence and creating a peaceful community. If awareness of peaceful processes remains beyond the reach of youngsters, there is no possibility of continuity or sustainability.
Peacebuilding is about everyone in the community; every individual can take action in the peace process. A peaceful community cannot be built by just one person. It takes everyone’s participation to make sustainable peace.
Youths are one of the main actors of the peace process. If we encourage and empower young people to get involved in peacebuilding, openly listen to their perspectives and support their activities, this young generation will surely be the bright future of our community.
Ilham Hayeeyama is a young activist who was born, raised and still lives in the area of Thailand's southern border provinces. She works for a project called “HOPE Yala” which tries to strengthen relationship between people with different backgrounds in the community and build youth capacity. She also a Thailand’s youth delegate participated in the United Nations: Youth, Peace & Security for Asia and the Pacific: A Regional Consultation.
Twitter: @AnGHjYama| Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/HAKAMYALA