|Youth as Avgents of Change Today and Leaders
The Green Village Toy Library
The Green Village Toy Library aims to foster a new generation of community-minded
and philanthropic children. The Green Village Toy Library emphasizes four
youth-centered concepts: philanthropy, leadership, community service and
participation, and environmental stewardship.
With the help and encouragement of parents and grandparents, young urban
children will have the opportunity to extend their hands in friendship
and generosity by donating toys to rural children. In turn, by performing
environmentally–focused community service in lieu of monetary payment,
rural children will be able to borrow and enjoy toys. The guiding principle
of The Green Village Toy Library is that access to toys is a human right
for children. We hope this small start will eventually foster a new generation
of local public-spirited citizens.
To learn more about the Green Village Toy Library, please visit the website here.
The Village Youth Government
PDA has also been at the forefront of youth
empowerment in Thailand for many years, providing skills training and
“life-skills” education to hundreds of thousands of students and their
teachers. PDA started the Village Youth Government in 2000 to give a voice
to the youth in rural communities; the Village Youth Government is designed
to be a permanent village institution which will push future generations
toward active involvement in political and community-building affairs.
It has been PDA’s experience over the last ten years that all former youth
government participants, upon compulsory “retirement” from the youth government
at age 25, have been elected to the local Tambon Administration Organization
Young people in each village elect eight
dynamic leaders between 14 and 24 years of age to become Youth Government
officers. To ensure fair and diverse representation, the government must
be half male/half female and officers come from different educational
levels, including out of the school system.
Youth officers learn about writing proposals,
planning projects, holding meetings, public speaking and promoting democratic
governance. After training, they manage and organize activities and events
around social and economic issues, culture, and health and environmental
The three main benefits of the Village Youth Government are:
- Youth education: Young people are given the opportunity to take leadership
roles and responsibilities. Ownership of problems and social awareness
at this early age serves as training for future leaders at the village-level.
- Gender equality: In a male-dominated community, the gender-balanced
youth government works to empower women and change attitudes toward
traditional gender roles.
- Income generation: The Village Youth Government receives business
training and often launches new initiatives within the community.
* A “tambon” is a legal entity at the sub-district level
which oversees approximately 12 villages or 9,000 people.