Nepal: Indigenous youth need support
With some 370 million indigenous people across the world, there are 67 million indigenous youth globally. This means that indigenous young people (aged 15 to 24) account for approximately 18 per cent of the world's population. But although they constitute such a sizeable portion of the global public, indigenous youth are one of the most vulnerable groups both at the international and national level. In Nepal, for example, they are facing a host of challenges such as exclusion from democratic participation, racial discrimination, poverty, unemployment and poor representation in decisionmaking bodies.
Despite their marginalisation from opportunities in political leadership, they have a great role to play primarily in the preservation of distinct cultural and religious practices and traditions. On one hand, indigenous young people seek to protect their indigenous identity, but on the other; they are exposed to modern, westernised structures which have caused them confusion. They have been struggling to strike a balance between their indigenous heritage and mainstream culture, but without guidance and inclusion in political decisionmaking, they risk a loss of identity and Nepal faces a loss of cultural diversity. Their voice must be listened to, their needs must be identified and the State must act accordingly.
Photo: Indigenous mother and children in Nepal. Credit: Delphinidaesy
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Dev Kumar Sunuwar
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