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Feb 27, 2002

Youth Forum tackles society’s ills

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While some youths were pursuing musical themes, others tried to work through some of the many perils of growing up in Belize.

Judith Alpuche, Speaking to Youths

“You have people having sex very early and they are getting pregnant to boot. Why is it that there is so much teenage pregnancy? What is causing it?”

Ann-Marie Williams

Over one hundred young people, mostly students, converged on the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall today to simply “mek wi talk”. Talk, that is, about issues they have to grapple with as children. N.C.F.C.’s Executive Director Judith Alpuche admits that the issues in “Group Orange”, the group she chaired, ran the full gamut of youthful dissatisfaction.

Judtih Alpuche, Executive Dir. N.C.F.C.

“The high cost of education, the economic situation in Belize as a whole, teenage pregnancy, child abuse, opportunities for children to express themselves, the whole issue of freedom of expression, and true children’s participation are some of the issues that came up. Crime, crime is foremost in everybody’s mind right now, and the young people here are no different. Access that young people have to drugs and to drinking establishments et cetera, those were some of the issues that came to the fore.”

Other issues, which came to the fore were white-collar crime, the need to hold politicians accountable and justice for all. But all the points that were discussed at the forum would benefit no one, if like many other findings they were left to gather dust.

Judith Alpuche

“These solutions that are being generated will actually be incorporated into their plans. What they’re trying to do is to find out from young people what are the issues and what are the solutions, so that they can tailor their programmes to more effectively address the issues young people are facing. So for them this is a part of their planning process and their programme development process.”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

Today’s youth forum was a collaborative effort of the National Committee for Families and Children and the Youth Department.

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