Almost 70% of the Ethiopian population consists of the youth aged 30 years or below. We have reached the point at which the fate of the country is in the hands of the youth, for good or for bad. The youth can be both a force of destruction and construction, and that a very powerful one. I believe we have seen enough of the destruction young people are capable of with the terrible events that were broadcasted to us by the media. What we have not seen yet is the power the youth has in resurrecting this country from its downfall. And much needs to be done on that end.
I have had the chance to interact with very innovative, ambitious, positive, determined and quite smart youngsters who are working on turning their business ideas into a reality that has the potential to disrupt the way things are normally done in this country. These youngsters are not aged more than 25 years. Some of them are still students in universities. But side to side to their education, they strive day and night to realize the big dream that is growing in and with them. Their wishes go beyond making money. Their wishes is for their beloved country and community members to see the light of modernization, prosperity and fulfilled livelihoods. All the money they currently have on them does not go beyond the amount needed to survive the daily expenses of living such as food and shelter. But they dream big. They believe big. And they strive big. Above and beyond all, the support system they get from families, friends, and those who share their dreams is key for their survival. A support system is what is needed for these youngsters to thrive, and prevent them from dying as a plant would die without water and sunlight or as a puppy would grow as an angry and wild dog if deprived of the care and affection of its owner.
These youngsters inspire me. So much can be learned from them if one simply took the time to give them an ear. I envy them for having big dreams and passions at such an early age. I envy their positivism about the realization of their idea into a big thing. I envy their innocence about the challenges of this World. They are free from the entrapment of negative and pessimist thoughts and risk aversions that come as one grows to older age. For them, anything is possible and can be done. All is needed is a bit of watering and care of this seed of positive-mindedness.
So, what should we do to stop to protect the youth from the madness that is threatening to destroy their dreams, hopes and potentials? They say an idle mind is the workshop of the devil. Idleness is manifested in the minds of our youngsters in the form of unemployment and lack of opportunities to explore one’s potentials. Negative thoughts flourish in an idle mind. Each member of the society is responsible for filling hope, positivism and drive in the minds of our youngsters. Family takes the lion’s share. No man is an island, so other community members have their lion’s shares as well. Religious institutions, schools, civil societies, the private sector and the government of course should all play their roles. We are all responsible for the insanity we are increasingly witnessing among our youngsters. Let’s all be the fertile ground where our youngsters can grow and adorn our country! Let’s celebrate those who have made it their life goals to be that fertile ground!