Some month ago, I attended a youth symposium whose main objective was to discuss the youth crisis. The stakeholders were selected from the so called theatre of the youth namely, high schools, colleges, universities and youth out of school. The friends of the youth were also represented including parents, teachers, Church leaders and community representatives. The preamble adopted was simple: Identify the pitfalls, the so called danger zones and then come up with a quick response strategy.
The youth representative took to the podium and set the mood with a real life recount that left the whole multipurpose hall shaking. It was the story of a young man named Dave (not his real name), and a graduation ceremony that turned into a funeral. Dave comes home after university and his parents congratulate him for having made it through campus. After all, finishing university unscathed these days is considered a grace and a miracle.
The parents eagerly waited for the day of graduation with the usual parental excitement called their kith and kin to accompany them to celebrate this family achievement. On the material day, every one boarded the vehicles except the graduand who was still in the house. When they went to check on him, they found his body dangling from the roof. The journey aborted and the party turned into mourning. It was the friends of the deceased youth who let the cat out of the bag. Dave was not on the graduation list. He had not been attending classes for the last two years. All along, his parents thought he was studying and kept giving him the money for the fees and maintenance, not knowing that their son had long ceased to attend lectures. The fear that the truth would finally come out pushed the young man to suicide. The youth representative ended his presentation with the words, “we are in a crisis, kindly help us.”
The next speaker was a parent and he helped tackle