Awareness on youth unemployment

‘Connect.Engage.Change.’ is one of the many projects launched by STITCH, a non-profit movement founded in 2010 and comprising of roughly 15 active members and 50 volunteers, STITCH has worked hard to bridge the gap between those who are in need of assistance, and those who can help to fulfill that need.

“We have been a part of community development in many areas, by getting involved in renovation of schools, homes, flood relief, and dealing with raising awareness through columns,” says twenty six year old Prathibha Perera, co founder and Team Head [Ventures]. She has been working with youth and youth related issues for a few years and heads the campaign for ‘Connect.Engage.Change.’ along with Yasir Arsath, Hamzath, Ruchini and Eshini.

The campaign will kick start with an island-wide contest, open to change-makers between the ages of 16 and 30, who would like to put their talents to good use. Participants are free to interpret the theme ‘Youth Unemployment in Sri Lanka and its adverse impact on society’ however they see fit, and document what they perceive as the impact of youth unemployment through mobile videos, photos or artistic expressions.

The competition will use these media documentation as advocacy tools for the campaign to raise awareness and work with key stakeholders in government and private sectors to address these issues.
“We wanted to make it as accessible for youth as possible.” adds Prathibha. “Keeping in mind our target audience of youth based out of Colombo, we wanted to make this competition more appealing to them, so that they could start exploring issues that affect them and respond with suitable and systematic action.”

“We have three different categories to create wider interest among competitors. We encourage creative concepts and do not expect to restrict the competitors at all. We are interested more in the thinking behind the outcome be it a video, photo or art than the finishing of it. We want everyone to know, that while what we see calls us for a positive action, what we see is also something we ignore, because we become complacent. This is a competition that is ambitious in its overall objectives, and strongly supports the underlining theme of creating awareness on the issue of unemployment. We want to stress that this campaign is not just a competition, but a strategic initiative to engage two segments of youth to work towards positive transformations in their lives.”

Participants can submit any number of entries for any category. The exhibits should be originals and not have been entered in previous competitions or published elsewhere. The 1st Place prize is 30,000 rupees, the 2nd place prize is 15,000 rupees and the 3rd place prize is 10,000 rupees. Apart from these cash prizes there will be consolation prizes for the rest of the top 10 for each category. The confirmed judges so far for the Grand Finale are Mr. Chandran Ratnam, Boodee Keerthisena and Chandana Bandara Samarakoon.

Prathibha states further that “the competition will be the launching pad for a job network, which will create a link between this youth component and the corporate sector. Working with youth with trainings such as career guidance, facing interviews, putting together their resumes and giving them vocational training opportunities will make them more employable and increase their chances of obtaining suitable employments via these already existing job banks. ”

For more on information on deadlines, requirements, instructions on how to submit or application details please refer to www.stitchmovement.com and visit ‘Connect.Engage.Change’.

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