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  • Nigel Akuani

Finding Hope and Compassion in YOUTH

Port Moresby: Young people today are the Hope and Compassion needed to heal the world amidst these turbulent times.

The empowering remark filled the NBC TribeFM studio during the Chat Room of Wednesday 17th November 2021, that had three extraordinary women confidently speak on the topic: ‘Ensuring Equity in World Youth Day 2021’. They included Elizabeth Aribi, Youth Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC PNGSI); Jessica Oata, Social Communications Officer of CBC PNGSI; and Lasallian Youth Ministry Coordinator, Melinda Maro.

Involved in animating and supporting youth and students, the jobs of the vibrant trio brings them closely in understanding just how important the values of youth are in the country’s rise and push forward into modernism, stability and prosperity.

Their talk began with a definition of Equity and its need in Youth of the day; an insight of World Youth Day; effective ways of ensuring inspirational scripture and quotes; the need for equal participation and opportunities; the clash between Melanesian traditions and inclusiveness; and a call for parents and the government to do its due diligence in supporting the younger generation in their endeavours of improving society.

Defining Equity among youth, Ms Aribi, said it required equal opportunities to be presented for young people to allow for them to become a voice over matters of communal and global significance. “Youth are in the frontline pushing and driving for change and they need to be allowed to partake in the process of decision-making. There has to be a cultural change where we don’t see them as who they are but what they know and can bring to the table,” she urged.

Ms Aribi, gave a brief history highlighting the prominence of World Youth Day, and stressed that it was a way to draw closer young people in their relationship with Jesus Christ. “The theme for WYD-21 is ‘Stand up! I appoint you as witnesses of what you have seen.’ Taken from Acts 26:16. It is a call for young people to cause change, by coming forward to share their experiences of discovering Jesus. It is a time to reconnect, reflect and discern,” she added.

“Young people need to be empowered to rise and say that ‘enough is enough’, to be given the strength to take action now, or else the only bright future we’ll have will be that of today. Enough with the bad and let’s start building the good and bringing about the prosperity that our people so long for,” she further stated.

Recalling the theme of World Youth Day 2021, Ms Oata, said the day was all about challenging and empowering young people to rise as beacons of hope through the Covid-19 pandemic. “Most PNG Cultures and traditions deny women and youth the right to have a say in social issues. However, in times such as these, there needs to be a significant shift away from this mentality and practice, a break away from age-old practices to encompass the thoughts of all members in society, particularly youth and women,” she stated.

She suggested that positive change for everyone to benefit from was a vision that many shared, but for it to happen required action and change in oneself. “Before we can be able to partake, we first have to work on ourselves, and young people have to change from within for that change to manifest outside in the physical world. This change in self by way of thinking and doing can’t be ignored, and when it is realized in young people, many including our elders will conform to it and tolerate it,” she said.

Melinda Maro, said young people always had a tendency to be drawn into groups, and implored them to be a part of positive and constructive social groups. “You can’t stop them from joining social groups, it’s inevitable and part of our human nature. But what we can do as adults is to guide them on the path that grows them as a person living in Christ,” she said.

“Young people need space and we as the grown-ups need to be able to see this and to be more sensitive and aware of their experiences. With our care, and through their exposure to life’s challenges, young individuals can be able discover their talents, strengths and an identity of who they were meant to become,” she emphasized.

Chat Room Producer-Presenter, Jason Omba, described how the topic was very timely and relevant and implored the general to embrace this positive change by way of supporting the younger generation in their ambitions and visions of bettering society.

Chat Room for Wednesday 24th November, will have Youth from Debeini’s Living Water Ministries speak on the topic ‘Humanity’s Role in Caring for Creation’.

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