Our World ?
According to UNESCO and UNICEF, the world’s population has surpassed seven billion, with people under the age of 30 accounting for more than half this number. Nearly 90% of people under 30 live in emerging and developing economies, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. There are at least 100 million street children globally, an estimated 18 million of these live in India, which has the largest numbers of street children of any country in the world. The Asian region has the largest number of young people; 754 million. That number has nearly tripled since 1950.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have the youngest proportion of population in the world with over 70% of the region’s population aged below 30. The group called “NEET” (not in education, employment or training) often constitutes at least 10% of the youth population, and disproportionately includes youth with a low level of education in developed countries. Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. There is a positive correlation between poor youth employment outcomes and inequality. Rising youth unemployment in recent years has increased inequality in both developed and developing countries.
We have all heard these statistics, and yes we may be concerned, but the million dollar question remains: “So what are we supposed to do about it?” Literally every country on the planet is facing severe challenges around their youth. Young people all over the world are rising up and holding those in authority accountable. “Youth without a Future” or Indignados in Spain is such a movement. Millions of young people all over the world believe there is little hope and almost no future for them.
It is for this reason that the 1 Million Strong platform has been birthed; a collaboration of organisations with one goal in mind – reaching out to the youth and developing the next generation of leaders. We somehow have to address the concerns of the youth and more importantly we have to provide some sort of hope. Without hope, our youth will rise up and become anarchists. Schools and Universities are the citadels of our communities, we need to leverage off this. 1 Million Strong is a platform where various partners, with a multiplicity of skills, programmes, delivery mechanisms and professions have come together to reach as many young people as possible in as many countries as possible. Language, religion, cultures, ethnicity, colour is irrelevant. What matters most is to bring hope to these millions of young people.
Who is 1 Million Strong?
The 1 Million Strong initiative is essentially a collaborative platform built around one common cause – raising the next generation of leaders. Our collaborative partners are made up of numerous organisations, not just in Africa but in many parts of the world. The potential to reach millions of young people starts becoming a reality if we are able to empower these organisations to go forth and leverage the power of synergy.
We are not that naïve to believe that we have all the answers; neither are we that naïve to believe that we can do it on our own. We require physical, mental and financial resources to fulfill our dream. We need organisations and people to partner with us. We need divine intervention. We need you.
We recognize the need to give our youth a voice, to address their concerns and to develop amongst them the next generation of leaders. Education is our tool ; schools and universities are our citadels. Our partners combine a multiplicity of skills, professions, programmes and delivery mechanisms to reach as many young people as possible in as many countries as possible, regardless of creed, colour, culture, language or ethnicity.
Why 1 Million Strong?
1 Million Strong was birthed in the heart of a father who had to deal with the pain of a daughter, whom he loved dearly, who had become a full blown heroin addict. On numerous occasions he visited his daughter on the streets of Hillbrow, a hell hole in Johannesburg South Africa, not knowing whether he would see his daughter alive again. In the midst of hopelessness and despair a cry of absolute desperation went out to God at 2 am one morning.
Many prayers had been prayed before but God seemed absent. However in the midst of despair God intervened and many years later tens of thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of young people would be touched by that moment of desperation. It took a number of years before that young lady finally walked out of that “hell hole” nothing more than flesh and bone, literally on the verge of death. The journey to recovery had begun.
That journey would take immense courage and dedication but with perseverance and taking one day at a time, victory became a reality. Nearly ten years later the journey to total victory continues. 1 Million Strong is dedicated to helping many thousands of young people to not go down that same road of destruction. There is a far better way and we are dedicated to help our youth find that way.