Calls for an increase in spending on youth

The youth support organisation, the Youth Empowerment Society for Vanuatu, has called for an increase in Government spending on youth.

The society’s chairman, Steve Kiel, says the Government needs to invest more money into its Youth Ministry so support and activities are provided to youth which will “grow and change” the community.

“I make a special appeal to the Vanuatu Government to hear our concerns,” Mr Kiel said at the opening of a community centre at Erakor Bridge outside Port Vila over the weekend.

“Now is the time for the Government to focus more on the youth of Vanuatu and to provide more money to support the Youth Ministry.”

He says the Youth Ministry has one of the lowest budgets of any of Vanuatu’s ministries.

Mr Kiel asked Vanuatu’s young people “to respect others” and “to become good citizens and good leaders of the nation in the future”.

And, he called on the Government to find ways to empower youth to become “good leaders of the future”.

He says without more resources being invested in supporting and developing young people, the trouble and problems being created by young school drop-outs using drugs and alcohol, will continue.

Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, also spoke at the community centre opening, saying the support of Vanuatu’s youth is a priority for his Government.

Mr Loughman said 50 million vatu that the Government had given to the Vanuatu Christian Council this year, would help to train and shape the youth of Vanuatu to become responsible citizens.

He says after investing in church groups, the Government will look at supporting chiefs in communities to help young people.

Mr Loughman says communities have a vital role to play in training and encouraging young people to become better citizens.

Mr Kiel of Youth Empowerment Vanuatu, says placing young people in detention or correctional centre was not the right way to help them become better citizens.

The Prime Minister told the gathering he agreed, and said it was the role of communities and churches to grow and develop young people.

Mr Loughman says success in the formal education system was not always the answer for every young person, with some youth needing to explore other areas to improve their skills and have a good life.

The Youth Empowerment Society for Vanuatu is currently sponsoring two young prisoners to undertake university training to become lawyers in four years’ time.

The society reaches out to young people across Vanuatu to involve them in sports, leadership training and education.

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