Investing in youth and volunteering – in Naples

For our first stop in Italy, AEGEE-Napoli has organised an event with about 30-40 attendees, mostly the members of AEGEE-Napoli were present to discuss the focus topic of Europe on Track. Their problems, expectations and possible solutions were brought to light both regarding Italy as a whole and their own city as well. Asked about their fears the most frequent answer is the difficulty of finding a job, but also the increase of economic problems in Europe, less possibilities for cultural and youth associations and mobility were among their main concerns. They don´t feel that their opinions count at all.

„There is a need for the greater representation of youth interests in politics. We need to change the framework of short term contracts, unpaid internships and the inefficiency of formal education at the universities; the employers want us to be young, graduated and experienced at the same time,  it´s impossible”. The inconvenience of green jobs is another obstacle the Italian economy has to face; the eco-mafias in Italy, the increasing pollution and the corruption. “Funds from European Union do not seem to be managed wisely and it is setting the declining pattern for our economy”.

How volunteering and youth participation can be a solution? The greatest example are the associations like Mammut, a group of young talented people settled in the worst district of the city working with kids from disadvantaged families on developing their interests and becoming full members of the society. “Those kids do nothing all the day long, selling or taking drugs, they are completely without perspectives. When they come to us they can try different things like sculpture, painting, playing dj or instruments on the street. They have a possibility to visit another city, see another kind of people, become more open. Doing these activities we´re hoping that in some of them curiosity for something else will emerge or maybe passion.”

Volunteering is the way to help others realise how to become a useful member of the society, how to improve our skills and how to get more involved in shaping our future. In Naples, along with the proposals on the youth guarantee assurance, the need for the support of young entrepreneurs, a more down-to-earth approach is presented why young people’s initiatives need to be supported. Investing in them now can only result in a benefit of 10 times more worth in the future.