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Making young voices matter

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Members of a youth group distribute bottled water, protective masks, sanitisers and cold towels to cyclo drivers and security guards in Phnom Penh. Facebook

The coronavirus is considered to be one of the worst pandemic crises in the history of the modern world. To date, it has infected more than 2.4 million people with over 166,000 deaths. It has made a huge impact on economies, politics and every part of our daily lives, from our work to the way we greet one another. Taing Rinith, our Khmer Times reporter shares his thoughts on how youngsters should get on board in the fight against COVID-19.

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Amid the ongoing health crisis, young people have plenty to lose with schools and universities closed and workshops and seminars cancelled or postponed in a concerted effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Many who have recently entered the labour market have lost their jobs or seen a decline in their income due to business closures.

Quite a few have cancelled their weddings while some have had almost no guests witnessing the most important event in their lives. Youngsters also have had to give up hanging out with friends and taking part in activities such as playing sports, partying, attending concerts and travelling.

Do you want this to go on much longer? Absolutely not, I am sure. You cannot contribute anything if you forget the existence of  the virus and live as if nothing has happened. Someone should fight the coronavirus, and it has to be Y-O-U.

 

COVID-19 is not just for the adults to find a solution. It requires attention and participation from everyone. In Cambodia, where the majority of the population is under 30, youth participation is needed now more than ever.

In fact, young people should be the leading force in finding the right key to address this problem.

 

When discussing the fight against the virus, what probably first comes to mind is volunteering as a front liner. However, not everyone is trained in the medical field. So, what can you do?

Are you a social media influencer? Then, go online and motivate your fans to wash their hands and stay home. Tell them to call 115, the COVID-19 hotline, if they suspect they are infected with the virus.  If you are a teacher, you can give free online lessons for children whose schools cannot afford to provide online classes. Include awareness messages about the virus in your lecture. If you are a journalist like me, you should give an accurate insight of the virus’ current situation to your readers or viewers, without spreading fake news with the intention of causing more fear among the people.

What young people are likely to share on their social media could have a significant impact on the public, given that they make up the majority of both smartphone and social media users in the Kingdom and around the world. If they know how to distinguish credible reports from unreliable ones, what they share could help others learn about the virus and contain it effectively. Failure to verify information could lead to widespread chaos and confusion.

 

Maybe you cannot find or think of anything you can do to contribute to putting an end to the coronavirus. Just bear in mind that even the simplest act, such as going into self-isolation and wearing a mask when you are sick, could have a powerful impact. An ordinary deed of generosity, like giving a box of masks, or a bottle of hand sanitiser or making a dish to share with your neighbours would be considered a great contribution during this period.

Okay, young soldiers! Together, let’s fight COVID-19!

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