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Citizenship Foundation

> International Youth Day: A Young Citizen's Perspective Monday, 12th August 2013

In celebration of International Youth Day, we wanted to hear a young person's perspective on the problems that young people face today.  We asked 16 year old student, Fabrizia Rowe: what do you see as the biggest problems facing you, your community and the world?  Fabrizia told us the following issues are important to her. 

 

What are the biggest issues facing you on a personal level?

I see high unemployment rates as a problem for myself and my generation.  The future is not as far off as it used to seem and we are now having to decide our futures before we even really know who we are as people. Working for a degree is worth it, but extremely hard, and you are not guaranteed a job.  I worry that even if I get good grades, finding a job to keep myself out of difficulty will prove to be hard.  Nowadays you have to stand out from the crowd to be noticed: it's not always perfect grades that will promise you your dream job or no financial problems in the future - although they do help! It doesn't seem that far away anymore and I feel we have little support. 

Another more minor issue I find is the amount of homework and revision given to us throughout our final years at school. The amount of stress pupils are put under in their teenage years is stupid! I find it hard to cope with homework and revision at the same time, especially when I have lots of mock and real exams throughout the year. We aren't given a real break; we have half term but in those half terms we are given a weeks’ worth of homework! Our only real break is when we finish school, and with other pressures in our teenage years, it's hard to keep a balanced, healthy and sociable lifestyle.

 

What do you think are the biggest issues for people in your community?

The cost of travelling round my city is getting more expensive each year.  The majority of people living in my city are living off of minimum wage and some are living off of benefits. For them a few pounds on the bus is a lot of money, and if you're not a student, under a certain age or a pensioner there are no discounts available! The only way to save money would be to buy a year round bus pass, which is expensive at first, but cheaper in the long run.  However if you don't have the money to pay up front for a yearly pass, you have to pay per trip or get a day ride. The bus companies seem to have few deals on offer and it makes travelling difficult for those who don’t drive or can’t afford to.

Another problem with my city is that it’s densely populated, so medical appointments are a nightmare to book. If it's not urgent but you are in pain you will still have to wait for a few weeks to see your local GP.  For example, you may have a chest infection, skin irritation or mental health issue but you will have to wait for at least a week until you can attend an appointment and receive the right prescription to help treat the problem, but by then you could be seriously ill! If it is urgent but there is no need for an ambulance, you may still have to wait in a hospital waiting room for hours before you are seen. I know that the staff work as hard as possible to see everyone, but health is one of the most or the most important aspect about our daily lives. This causes great concern to not just myself, but also many other young people and older people as living a healthy life is important, not just for your physical wellbeing but also for your mental wellbeing.

 

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the world today?

In today's society I feel one of the world’s biggest problems is terrorism. The word terror doesn't define the feelings and emotions individuals feel when they have witnessed, been a part of or even just heard on the news about terrible acts of terrorism. Terrorism isn't a short term memory occurrence either; families, people, and nations remember the monstrosities that these horrible acts cause. The 9/11 bombings in 2001 will never be forgotten and even though security has been majorly improved, people will always remember this event and be afraid when there are warnings of threats of an attack soon to happen. I see the fear of terrorism as a big problem in the world and the only way to solve it will have to be through negotiating [multilateral] agreements. 

Related to this, I feel another problem in our world is scapegoating certain ethnic groups as the cause of terrorist problems. People who hold Islamic beliefs seem to be the most stereotyped as the ones causing the bombings in different areas around the world.  A recent attack was at the Boston Marathon.  Afterwards, I saw many racist remarks on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter accusing individual Muslims of this act, purely because of their religious beliefs.  There were even a few incidents in my city where white British people had spat at the feet of or made a racist remark about Muslim people just after the Boston Marathon. I genuinely felt for them, as they were innocent people being abused by such small minded people both on the internet and in real life.  I have many good friends who are Muslim, and they are all kind people, but unfortunately the world has stereotyped them as 'terrorists'. This upsets me because I see us all as equals!