The benefits of civil society for Bahrain and for you
When extremists try to radicalize young people, they target individuals who have no hopes and dreams for their future, who have no clear ambitions and who lack purpose in their lives. This is why it is important for civil society to inspire hope and help give direction to young people’s lives.
Organizations which work with young people can play an important part in opening up new opportunities for the youth: Showing them possible career opportunities, encouraging them to pursue further education, and stimulating their interest in becoming involved in activity which can serve society.
This is particularly important in the case of children from deprived backgrounds, orphans, victims of abuse and those who have suffered various forms of disability.
Children who have low expectations for their future and who come to believe that they cannot succeed are much more likely to become involved in crime, antisocial behaviour or extremism.
There are many different ways of widening the horizons of young people and increasing their life opportunities. Civil society groups which get the youth involved in charity work and public service give their volunteers a sense of how they can be of service to society and how rewarding it can be to use their energies for the good of the community.
Debating societies, youth parliaments and political NGOs can help young people better understand how their political system works and the constructive role that they can play in influencing decision-making at a local and national level.
Often, young people are not properly educated about politics, which puts them at risk from militants and extremists who turn them against their political system; brainwashing them to believe that change must be achieved through violence, rioting and radical measures.
For this reason, it is vital that civil society plays a role in raising the awareness of the youth in how they can positively have an influence; through activism, support for social issues, involvement in local and municipal politics, or serving their nation through a public sector career or even competing later in life for political office as a municipal councilor or parliamentary deputy.
Scholarships and new experiences
Bahrain’s scholarship system also widens the opportunities of the Kingdom’s brightest students who otherwise may not be able to study abroad or pursue further education. In particular, the opportunity to travel abroad allows young people to understand other cultures and ways of life, meaning that they have valuable insights and experiences to contribute when they return to Bahrain.
Such experiences widen the awareness and consciousness of young people to the bigger picture of Bahrain in its regional and international context. We get to see that there are opportunities and experiences far beyond our local community.
As a nation, we are enriched by producing generations of young people who are open-minded, with a clear sense of the opportunities in front of them and a strong idea of the role they can play in bettering themselves and bettering their society.
ABC of civil society