by Jason Schwartzman, ChildFund Team Leader for Child & Youth Involvement
There are 1.2 billion of us, and we make up 18 percent of the global population. Almost all of us — 87 percent — live in developing countries. You know where we live? Mostly in Asia — almost two-thirds. And you know what? We can read and write — almost 90 percent of us are literate — and about 80 percent complete primary school education. Who are we?
Now, here’s some bad news. In developing countries, little more than half of us are enrolled in secondary school, and in the least developed countries, fewer than one-third. That’s enrolled only — forget about how few of us actually complete secondary school education. So, are we working? Love to — if we could find work. Do you know who we are now?
I recently spent two weeks in India, a country that coincidentally has the largest national population of adolescents — 243 million. China’s not even close at 207 million. The U.S.? Try 44 million.
To celebrate ChildFund India’s 60th anniversary ChildFund hosted a gathering of youth who come from all parts of India, bringing them together with our staff from Asia, Africa and the Americas. Youth and staff, together in the same room, talking about the issues that youth face and how ChildFund might take their insights to strengthen its youth programs.
Over the next several days, I’ll be blogging about what we learned from the Youth Program Summit, and how ChildFund is approaching its work with this age group.