Safe Spaces for Children are Non-Negotiable.

Here’s How You Can Secure Safe Spaces for Youth in Honor of International Youth Day

By Mia Arnold

This upcoming Sunday, August 12th, marks International Youth Day: a day devoted to promoting the wellbeing for young global citizens. The focus for International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth, highlighting the role safety and comfort play in the healthy development of adolescents.

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No matter where in the world you were raised, or for those who are parents, where your children are raised, having a safe place to play and interact with others will always be a universal need for all youth. Having access to safe spaces allows young individuals to develop their confidence, identify their interests and strengths, develop their communication and teamwork skills, and build respect for others.

Healthy development, instilling emotional, cognitive and social maturity in individuals, is needed for widespread peace and diplomacy. Thus investing in resources for youth serves as a weapon against long-term global issues and should be seen as a right to all youth and children.

UNA-USA believes we are able to transform futures by providing essential support in the early years, which is why we are dedicated to the Adopt-A-Future campaign. Given that over half of the world’s refugees are children, and only 61% of those children have access to primary school (compared to the global average of 91%), UNA-USA and UNHCR are focusing on providing a safe place for children and youth residing in refugee camps to learn and grow.

By providing resources to the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in Kenya, the Adopt-A-Future program resulted in 124,199 students being able to enroll in school in 2017 alone. While the campaign successfully contributes to the safe space initiative, there is still many more children and youth who have not had such opportunities offered to them.

Having a safe environment to engage and grow is essential for children and youth -- something most of us can attest from either reflecting upon our own childhood, or for those who are parents, witnessing during your own child’s development. It is up to us to keep fighting for these spaces for today’s youth.

Want to learn more about the Adopt-A-Future campaign? See here.

Curious to see how International Youth Day is going to be celebrated around the world? Explore here.

Want to join the celebration on social media? Join the Instagram Photo Contest!


1. Your photo must follow this year’s theme, Safe Spaces for Youth.

2. You must post your photo by midnight EST on August 12

3. You must tag @UNA.USA in the photo and use the hashtag #InternationalYouthDay

4. You must be following @UNA.USA on Instagram

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