International Youth Day – August 11 2020

Young people are resilient agents of change

At SOS Children’s Villages across Latin America and Caribbean, we are highlighting the participation of adolescents and young people in activities in August for Youth Month, and especially on the 12th for International Youth Day. Young people have shown they are agents of change, particularly in how they are coping with the consequences of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated many of the pre-existing inequalities that young people in Latin America and the Caribbean already have to deal with, especially those who have lost or are at risk of losing the care of their families. Yet, their resilience is now making them agents of change who are capable of leading stories, actions and initiatives that inspire and support other children, adolescents, young people and adults in the face of the current health, social, emotional and economic emergency.

They have been putting their energies into various actions and communication materials for Youth Month. In partnership with them, SOS Children’s Villages has facilitated processes to amplify their voices and publicize, through the regional office, their leading role, drawing on their own experiences, thoughts and backgrounds.

Our key actions are being promoted to celebrate Youth Month. The first, SOS INFLUENCERS, refers to the regional participatory campaign “My voice during coronavirus” (#MiVozSOS), which is reflected through fresh, attractive and inspiring videos. The videos by young people provide easy-to-understand information about COVID-19, the impact that the pandemic is having on their lives and how children, adolescents and young people are promoting self-care, self-protection and care for other people during the crisis.

The second, the Regional Photography Competition “Your reality from inside your home in times of COVID-19”, aims to encourage current and former SOS Children's Villages programme participants aged between 15 and 25 to capture in images their perspectives and everyday experiences in the context of the COVID-19 health emergency, in their own homes, acknowledging this as a unique time in their lives.​ The best photographs will be presented in a virtual exhibition.

The third, a webinar entitled SOS Youth and Coronavirus, is a pioneering experience in the region. In partnership with adolescents and young people in the programmes, we aim to highlight their central role in both guiding and organizing the activities planned for this celebration, in response to COVID-19, acknowledging that through their powerful voices, messages, proposals and actions, they are contributing to the response to the crisis with solidarity and in creative and innovative ways.

Young participants of SOS Children’s Villages programmes in Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico will lead this space. Through their messages, reflections, initiatives and experiences, they are inspiring us and teaching us how to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown in positive ways. Click here to register.

SOS Children’s Villages Latin America and the Caribbean acknowledges that adolescents and young people are being seriously affected by the health, social, emotional and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and calls upon States and key actors to redouble their efforts in the search for greater opportunities with and for young people in relation to training, access to employment and transitioning to independence in a supported and progressive manner.

According to International Labour Organization data, before the start of the health emergency, youth unemployment for 2020 was 18% and the informal employment rate was 62.4% (10% higher than for adults), with the youth unemployment rate rising to 32.2% in April 2020. UNESCO, meanwhile, estimates that 177 million children and young people have stopped attending their educational establishments and, with education moving online, many of them are at a disadvantage as they do not have devices or internet to access their right to education.

At SOS Children’s Villages, we recognize that the current health emergency has particularly impacted adolescents and young people in the different dimensions of their lives: educational, social, emotional, work and recreational. Therefore, we are committed to strengthening their leadership role in the response to COVID-19, aware that through their messages, opinions, proposals and actions they are contributing to an appropriate and solidarity-based response in their communities.