Platform established for Youth from all religious & cultural backgrounds within Ennerdale to encourage youth activism through open-discussion about issues
The 31 of November marked the 3rd official seating of the Ennerdale Mini Parliament held at Ennerdale Council Chamber. The Ennerdale Mini Parliament is a Non-Profit Youth Organisation which gives the youth within Ennerdale and its surrounding areas the platform to voice their opinions and debate on issues affecting them on a personal level and the community as a whole and to be empowered to come up with their own solutions to this issues.
They were joined by various local Organisations, Representatives from the Municipal Department of Social Development and Representative from the Ennerdale Police Station, who took part in the discussions. The effectively heard the views of the honorable members which attend, made up of youth from various schools in Ennerdale, namely: Odin Park Primary, George Street Primary, Poseidon Road Primary, Mid-Ennerdale Primary, Fred Norman Secondary as well as Oak Dale Secondary and interacted with them on a discursive level. The topic for the day was “Peer Pressure in Society and Youth”, as heavily discussed as this topic may be, the honorable members discussed this from an entirely different perspective which brought a great enlightenment to the guests present.
They spoke of peer pressure on a positive light, talking about how peers could positively influence each other in various ways which would result in them making better life choices, personally and academically. The members present were aged from as little as 12 to 18 years old, making the discussions very dynamic as the perspectives would differ in each age group. They reacted with maturity to questions posed to them by the honorable members in such a way that the atmosphere in the chamber resembled that of parliament.
Domestic issues were also touched on, discussing the pressures faced within families. A learner from Odin Park spoke of how parents pressure their children to become like other children, eluding to the fact that each child is a character with different characteristics. In a sense saying that we all have our own thought processes, abilities and genes, so why are all teenagers measured by the same means?, the counter-intuitive and somehow ironic pressure from children towards parents and teachers was also addressed where many youth took time to truly analyses their perspective on independence and degree of freedom to their own opinion.
Louise Louw, the chairperson of Treasure Amphora, a Mentorship Program making a unique difference in the community gave the key presentation urging the youth to learn more about values, and surround themselves with peers who practice good values. The teachers, parents and organisations present gave many vital tips and conflict resolutions for youth facing Pressure from peers. The Members of the parliament gave powerful and thought-provoking poems and speeches that broke down the topic and introduced the idea of “Positive Peer Pressure”, a new perspective where peers are encouraged to do good and be confident in who they are, instead of breaking down the potential of others. The officiators were Nathan Swartz, who is the Chairperson of the Ennerdale Mini Parliament and Speaker of the House, Akani Nkhwashu, Vice-Chair and Deputy Speaker of the House as well as Elphus Machaba, who is the Coordinator and who was facilitating the discussion.
The Ennerdale Mini Parliament is good example of the youth taking initiative, showing that our community is not filled with children who possess negative potential, but striving towards being the advocates of change for a better future.