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Creating safer spaces for today’s youth

The Human Touch Foundation celebrated International Youth Day to an auditorium packed with students from colleges across the state at the Lecture Hall, Sanskruti Bhavan on Sunday, August 12. In keeping with this year’s theme ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’, the event hosted a panel discussion on ‘Creating safe spaces and building social assets for youth’.

The panellists for the discussion were Elvis Gomes, president of Goa Football Association; Ester Torres, former member of the South Goa Child Welfare Committee; Sangeeta Naik, executive editor Digital Media Goa; and Kenneth Alvares, student and young entrepreneur from Don Bosco Colege The session was moderated by entrepreneur Evencio Quadros.

Sangeeta while speaking about ‘Enabling online safe spaces for children and youth’ gave the audience an insight into the digital spaces and use of technology productively. She also gave the youth a list of helpful links to aid them to expand their horizons.

Speaking about ‘Child-friendly safe places for children in need and girls’, Ester stressed that in terms of spaces Goa does not lack in anything, but the safety of such spaces is a question. Elvis who spoke about ‘Creating safe spaces for young people through sport’ said that though there are a lot of opportunities in sports, these can be an unsafe space too. “It all comes down to the fact that the children and youth need to have access to somebody who won’t betray their trust, and we need to give them that,” he said.

Speaking further on the subject Elvis stressed on the creating of awareness in the society and more so our own awareness. “We will not be able to address the problems if we don’t know what the reality is.” He also spoke about the implementation of the happiness curriculum in the Central capital that focuses on living a happy full life, going beyond academics. “We don’t know have spaces which can take up the problems faced by the youth. The youth should stand up and demand for such spaces,” he said.

Representing the voice of the youth, Kenneth spoke about ‘Creating safe spaces – a youth perspective.’ He pointed out that there needs to be a space in the educational system that can help children grow from a young age and make the right choices for their career.

The event also announced the winners of the short film competition ‘Get High on Life’ organised earlier this year by the Human Touch Foundation. The competition was judged by Milroy Goes, Rajesh Patil, Nalini Elvino De Sousa and Lynsey Miller. Maryanne De Souza won the first place in the open category for her film ‘Irrevocable’, while Nitish Naik won the second place for his film Jinechem Darpan – Ek Valakh, and Mcvean Pereira won the consolation prize for his film ‘6 Teen’.

The winners in the student category were BTS Productions from Parvatibai Chowgule College for the film ‘Kick’ in the first place; Devraj Parab Gaonkar form St Xavier’s College won the second place for his film Jivanachem Moll; and Sheena Pereira from St Xavier’s College secured the consolation prize for her film Crushed Final.

The evening came to a close with the screening of the winning films, ‘Irrevocable’ and ‘Kick’

The event was compeered by Peter Borges, founder of Human Touch Foundation. Borges said that young people need to get more engaged in spaces and policy making with the government. He also highlighted that by 2020, India will be the youngest country with an average age of 29 and hence the young people will be demographic dividend.

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