Youth Houses in Provinces to Tackle Social Exclusion

The relevant authorities must address the issue of social exclusion of youth as there are warning signs that the current trends could have detrimental effects in the long run and threaten the cultural and social fabric
The most important consequence of social exclusion is lack of trust between individuals and society.The most important consequence of social exclusion is lack of trust between individuals and society.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has announced it will complete the establishment of the so-called Youth Houses in all 31 provinces by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2017.

“So far such centers have been set up in the major provinces and soon will cover the remaining,” said Deputy Minister Mohammadreza Rostami at a meeting with NGOs in western Kermanshah Province on Tuesday, ISNA reported.

There are over 1,500 non-governmental organizations active in the field of youth affairs, and the number will increase to 2,000 before the tenure of the government ends next summer, he said.

Increasing the number of Youth Houses and related NGOs are part of the ministry’s drive to help increase social harmony among the youth and create understanding based on mutual trust between the youth and government

A national study at the ministry’s Center for Strategic Studies and Research in early 2015 on youth exclusion revealed that a shockingly high number of youngsters suffer from social exclusion.

The study, involving 4,520 individuals in the 15-29 age groups showed that 65% experienced social exclusion to some extent.

“About 32% had experienced exclusion at a rather tangible level, and another 33% experienced it to some extent,” Mohammadtaqi Hassanzadeh, director of the center, was quoted by ISNA as saying.

Youth exclusion is a form of social exclusion in which youth are at a social disadvantage in joining institutions and organizations in their societies. Teetering economies, lack of government programs, and barriers to education are examples of dysfunctions within social institutions that contribute to youth exclusion by making it more difficult for youth to graduate to adulthood.

Male participants aged 20-29 reported the highest social exclusion in the study.

  Contributing Factors

“Factors such as living in a large or extended family, socioeconomic status, number of jobless in the household, gender exclusion or bias in the family, educational, health, or employment status among other things are contributing to social exclusion of the youth,” Hassanzadeh noted.

The most important consequence of social exclusion is lack of trust between individuals and sections of the society.

“The relevant authorities must address this issue. The figures are warning signs that the current trends could have detrimental effects in the long run and threaten the cultural and social fabric,” he stressed.

There two types of social exclusion: explicit social exclusion, in which individuals are prevented from participating in a social activity by other players engaged in the particular activity as could be the case with recovering addicts or ethnic minorities; and implicit social exclusion, in which participants, because of extenuating circumstances such as socioeconomic or educational status, are not able to join in a social activity.

Sometimes exclusion is deliberate and explicit – for example, when people from a certain social or ethnic background are denied access to a particular facility. Sometimes it can be implicit and unintentional, and is simply a result of people adhering to ingrained traditions and values, and established forms of social interaction.

The study revealed that the number of people who felt implicit social exclusion were 2.5 times more than those who were subject to explicit social exclusion.

Implicit social exclusion, Rostami deemed, is the reason behind the low social and economic participation of the youth.

Social scientists see strong links between crime and social exclusion in industrialized societies. They believe that living in unofficial settlements in outlying city areas, or in shantytowns have significantly contributed to the emergence of social or youth exclusion. Growing crime rates and violence, particularly in the marginalized population, may reflect the fact that an increasing number of people do not feel appreciated in the societies in which they live.

  Illegal Means to Fulfill Aims

Socially excluded people seek illegal means to fulfill their goals and motives in life as they have no other way to fit into a society that ostracizes them. The affected youth turn to crime or deviant behavior as they increasingly grow up without guidance and support from the adult population. With the high rate of unemployment, young people face diminishing job prospects for sustainable livelihood. This can also encourage illegitimate means of sustaining a desired lifestyle.

Youth centers provide various services to help teenagers and young adults choose a career in life, engage in positive hobbies, and stay away from harmful and violent behavior. Counseling services on legal matters, economic issues, and career choice is one of their responsibilities. Young people can also offer their handiwork at such centers for sale.

The centers also provide an environment for healthy interaction and cooperation among the youth, and act as connectors between the target population and organizations.

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