(now Juan Sebastian Marroquín Santos)
I was born into a world fertile for violence. With this as my legacy, my only choice is to search for peace.
When deciding to expose your identity you probably evaluated the risks involved, but most likely your courage was driven by an objective which prevailed over the fear. Why did you decide to once again become the son of Pablo Escobar for the rest of the world?
It seemed selfish to me, just keeping to myself a solitary pacifist legacy of this violent story. I wanted to share with young people what I have learned about the serious consequences of participating in the cruel game of drug dealing. I am just doing what I believe is right. If I can prevent even a single young person from entering that world, then it will be worth it.
A Global Address and an East-West Comparison
Suicide is a global problem affecting many different parts of the world (see Figure 1 for a map of suicide rates globally). The global suicide rate is about one million people per year, a rate of 14.5 per 100,000 people (WHO, 2010). In particular, suicide rates among young people have risen to such an alarming extent that 15 to 19 year olds are now at highest risk of suicide in a third of all countries, with suicide being the second leading cause of mortality for this age group globally (WHO, 2009).
In Sierra Leone, young people constitute about 34 per cent of the country’s total 5.6 million estimated population.(1) The broad definition of youth in Sierra Leone includes people between 15-35 years old, of whom 70 per cent are unemployed and 53.4 per cent are illiterate.(2)
It is not unusual for Western NGOs to create and export programme models and development tools to Africa. What is less common is for this process to happen in reverse: when a wealthy Western nation imports a tried and tested African model to help address its social problems. This is exactly what has happened with Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative, a South African organisation that has successfully undertaken its programmes in the UK, demonstrating the universality of its approach.
Raising Issues with Participation
100 young people from Italy, France, Senegal and Burkina Faso were the protagonists in the Jeunes Reporter Migrants (JRM) experience: an educational project which aims to give back a voice to people who do not have any other ways of sharing their stories and views in the mainstream media. These young people have been selected from schools or from the most disadvantaged suburbs. In Italy and France some of them have experienced migration at first-hand.
The topic of the entire project is “Citizen journalism,” a new form of citizen media, where individuals can write and/or comment on issues they feel have been left-out or that tend to be covered only superficially by the mainstream media. In this case, the main issue was “migration.”
The young people involved in this workshop met for six months in small newsrooms with the goal of producing reports on migrants and their concerns about living in Europe and in developing countries. In September 2010 they met in four different international exchanges programmes and they worked together to write news articles and reports which can be viewed on the website: jeunesrms.org
Living the news as leading actors
Catalina, a young woman from Romania, is 27 and has been living in Turin for one year with her family. She has written about her experience in Paris during the International Exchange along with four other young people from Italy. The highlight of the week was a visit to Créteil, Bobigny and Saint Denis, four banlieue cities and a journey around the intercultural suburbs of Belleville and Goutte d’Or, with a guide from the French association “Ça se visite.”
Building on its long history as an authority in fingerprinting, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses its expertise to help parents and guardians protect America’s children through the Community Fingerprinting Program and the National Child Identification Program. Both of these initiatives capture children’s fingerprints in a format that parents can keep in case of an emergency with their child.
Brazil has the world’s third largest prison population.(1) Of the roughly 500,000 prisoners currently being held in the Brazilian prison system, 59 per cent are youth between 18 and 29 years of age.(2) (3) The number of adolescents (between 12 and 18 years old) who have been deprived of their liberty in the socio-educational system(4) is around 18,000.(5)
Since I was young I have always dreamed that what I wanted to do, when I would be an adult, was to work with something that would have contributed to make this world a better place.
President of the Tribunal for Minors in Mozambique
What are the main causes of the juvenile delinquency phenomenon in Mozambique?
The phenomenon of minors in conflict with the law has different roots and reasons. It started with the civil war which ended in 1992 and killed parents who went off to fight, leaving children alone and abandoned. In most cases, both the mothers and the fathers lost their lives and neither returned to their homes, thus children became orphans and remained alone with nobody to look after them. These children began living on the streets trying to earn a life by carrying out little bits of work such as cleaning cars. But in the majority of cases they ended up begging and starving. As a consequence, these children grew up carrying out petty crimes and later on they committed bigger offences.
The judicial authorities were not ready and were slow in taking any preventative measures. Thus children continue to grow, carrying out petty crimes like stealing phones and pieces of cars. The juveniles who commit crimes today are the same children who were abandoned by their parents because of the civil war.