TO empower, equip and educate – these are the pillars of a new youth organization that was launched in Port Elizabeth this year to make a difference through community transformation.
The United Nations Academy for South African Leadership (UNLASA) is led by Henry Jacobs, who won the Paarl Police Officer of the Year award in 1997 for his efforts in combating gang violence.
âI was in the SA Navy, SA Army and a police officer before I emigrated from SA to the United States in 2001. I created this organization because young people are important in our society and our future leaders. Jacobs said.
The newly launched organization aims to provide young people with tools of social responsibility to secure their future.
âThis organization aims to inform and involve young people in important issues. We aim to establish UNLASA chapters in every high school across the country, nurturing it in PE and rolling it out to the rest of South Africa within 36 months, âJacobs said.
In addition, the goal of the organization is to teach young people the skills of effective communication, deep connection, persuasion and empowerment. âYoung people have always been left in the dark on issues that directly affect them such as unemployment, politics, economic development and global issues.
âUNLASA aims to empower our young people to take their place of authority and leadership.
“Young people must be equipped when they leave school so that they can contribute positively to their communities by building a better future where race, creed, language and affiliation are not a barrier,” added Jacobs.
Secondary students in grades 10 to 12 will have the opportunity to participate to better understand their role in civil affairs, politics, social responsibility and governance.
âI have always been passionate about the issues of our youth and I did not have the platform to go further. UNLASA offers us this platform.
âWe need to be the change and also give young people the vision to uplift their community,â said UNLASA member Munier Ahmed.
Learners involved in this organization learn to be productive and positive role models as future leaders of society.
âMr. Jacobs came to visit my school and at the end of his presentation I was really inspired. I want to be part of the change. I am launching a campaign in our school to involve more people, âsaid Margeaux Liberty, member of UNLASA.
According to Jacobs, young people need to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge about global governance.
âEducation and knowledge is power. Young people will have a better chance of building a strong nation if they know what to do, why they are doing it, how to do it and when to do it.
âThe United Nations is committed to ensuring that transparency and inclusion are at the center of our efforts,â said Jacobs.