As the world celebrates the International Youth Day (#IYD2021) today under the theme; ‘Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health’, South Sudan joins the rest of the world under the national theme; ‘Youth Involvement in Nation Building’.
International Youth Day is celebrated annually to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community, and to celebrate the potential of youth as active partners in society.
South Sudan has a population which is made up of over 70% youth, many of whom are learners. With the COVID-19 pandemic, learners, especially girls, have faced several challenges, including early and unintended pregnancy and early and forced marriage. The youth are encouraged to take up space to speak out on issues affecting them. Today, Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) joins the rest of the world to highlight the importance of giving youth a platform to speak out.
Grace (left) is a Senior 4 learner at Juba Academy Secondary School. Grace uses poetry to address issues she sees in her community that negatively impact the lives of the youth.
After witnessing one of her friends get married at just 17 years old, as well as many other girls in her locality, Grace started writing poems to encourage girls to consider education as a first priority and call upon parents to desist from marrying off their daughters at a very young age.
Grace is a three-time beneficiary of the GESS Cash Transfers intended to motivate girls to stay in school by lifting the financial burden of education.
GESS encourages the youth of South Sudan to always voice their concerns through different mediums, especially concerns that deter them from achieving their dreams in education!
Click below to read Grace’s poems: