For too long now I have sat back and stayed quiet whilst those around me label our generation as one that is lost, something that I struggle to comprehend. It's fair to say that my generation of young people have been most affected by the global recession. What with high unemployment levels, funding for our youth services cut and tuition fees increased.
However, I don't think it's right to compare us to a 'lost generation', rather this global recession, which has affected us all and continues to do so, has made this generation stronger and more resilient than ever before.
This past year is a testament to our strength. We have seen a number of leaderships around the world crumble at the hands of young people who were fed up of living under dictatorships in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. They were hungry for change and took it upon themselves to do just that, at the cost of innocent lives being lost.
Closer to home, we have seen protests and riots on the streets of London and other cities in the UK by students, no older than myself, angered by the arrogance of this current government. Whilst their actions are not ones to be commended, deep down I sympathise with them.
It's become clear that we are a generation that will no longer take no for an answer. We will no longer sit around and wait for change, instead we are forcing change to happen and holding our governments accountable.
It's time that our leaders around the world recognised young people as leaders of today and not tomorrow. They and others should stop labelling us as a 'lost generation', and should instead recognise us as equal stakeholders, providing us with the platform to have our voices heard and allowing us to help shape future policy.
Governments need to be working alongside us. We need to be given opportunities and experience, something the current system lacks. We need a more open relationship with government; one that actually cares and actually values our opinions, one that doesn't just turn against us or use us for political gain as in the last general election.
We just need to be given the space, the time and the investment to shine. Governments need to value the work that youth organisations do, not penalise them at a time when our generation need them most, especially those youth who are labelled as marginalised and often end up being isolated by the general population. They to have a voice that needs to be heard and they're not all criminal hooligans as they have been made out to be!
Let it be heard that our generation is not apathetic, we are far from it. We do care about the society we live within and we do have a voice. For those of you that continue to label us a 'lost generation', I ask you to go speak to a young person and find out what their goal in life is. Make a commitment to ensuring they receive the support they need to achieve their ambition. And know that you helped them on their road to future success!
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