Acting Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment, Davidson Ishmael has appealed for community-based organisations to develop new partnerships, which can eliminate ageism and social exclusion.
Ishmael said it was important that groups work together to support the kind of intergenerational solidarity, which is needed to reduce social problems in the island.
“I assure that our government will continue to work with all stakeholders to develop and promote strategies that will strengthen all our age cohorts and provide them with the opportunities to have fulfilling lives,” he said in a message to mark International Youth Day on Friday.
“I call on us to exercise tolerance and respect for diverse views acknowledging that members of successive age cohorts grow up at different points in historical time and are products of different sets of personal, socio-political concerns, and life experiences.”
Ishmael added: “The opportunities exist for faith-based organisations, environmental groups, sports clubs, and federations, professional associations, and organisations across all diverse sectors to collaborate and develop multi-sectoral approaches that facilitate the creation of safe, accessible, sustainable spaces for intergenerational solidarity to thrive.
“This is necessary if our Barbadian way of living and society is to be preserved.”
Ishamel said the theme for this year’s observance of the International Youth Day was “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages”, which brings attention to critical concerns that impact the bedrock of society, concerns such as family, kinship, and social relationships.
“The focus on intergenerational solidarity is more prevalent given that our society is now recording data, which reveal that there is an increase in life expectancy, demographic shifts marked by a significant youth bulge, and changes in family structures and relationships,” he said.
“These factors are concomitant with the expressed concerns about changing value systems and the decline in traditional social mores, which may be leading to the breakdown of families and increases in social problems such as crime, violence, unemployment, and the abandonment of elder family members.”
Ishmael said: “Intergenerational solidarity fosters collaboration and harmony between all age groups and allows for the sharing of traditional folklore and values, and socio-historical perspectives by the elder generation and the articulation of new perspectives for change, regeneration, and continuity of the society by the younger generation.
“It is these types of social contracts and interactions that are desirable and allow for social stability and integration within our society, but also provide social support for the elderly and other vulnerable persons amongst us.”
International Youth Day has been celebrated for the past 23 years after the United Nations provided a dedicated space to celebrate young people and to highlight issues faced by them.