Mallorca is not immune to the austerity and chaos the world now experiences. This is evident as we pass homeless people begging in the streets and refuge centres bursting to capacity. Financial chaos, increase in divorce rates, property repossessions and unemployment on the island create significant pressure for all ages. Some youths are particularly at risk as they find themselves outside of a support system which should ideally guide them to stay on a positive and productive path.
In the past, many youths were able to leave school at 16 without qualifications to work in a thriving tourist industry. Recent years have changed somewhat and it is now imperative to have a basic standard of education in order to secure work opportunities. With increased numbers of children dropping out of school and so few available jobs, there is a greater sense of helplessness. This results in more youths turning to crime and in some cases drugs or alcohol as a means of escape.
Mallorca today finds itself in the midst of chaos regarding the future direction of education. 2013 saw teachers line the streets in protest and the confusion continues. The private schools have a degree of autonomy which enables them to continue offering education and opportunity to the youths of those that “have” whilst the public schools and those from backgrounds “without“ are left bound within the trap of their existence with no hope or any avenue for change. It is not surprising so many young people on the island are in despair.
The irony in this story is that the costs involved in running preventative programmes like that of the Shambhala Foundation, are a mere fraction of the costs that are needed later to run programmes such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres, all of which become a necessity if the youth of today are not guided back onto a productive path.
Because most would agree that ” The youth of today are the future of the island tomorrow” the question facing us today is “what can we do to help?”……. The answer is Shambhala and here is why….
* If a youth believes there is HOPE for a better life then they are more open to making the changes that will enable them to achieve this goal.
* The ability to make life changes requires an alternative vision to the blueprint they currently hold of their life and what it will be like.
* In order for them to believe they can achieve a new vision, they need to increase their self-esteem.
* To increase their self-esteem they need to improve their mental and physical health and they need to be mentored in their school and physical activity.
* Youths with the proper mentoring can be guided onto a career path, and if armed with better qualification, are fit and healthy, they are more likely to be employed.
* An employed youth is less likely to resort to crime or drugs as a means of surviving or anaesthetizing the pain of their existence.
* Less unemployment, crime and drugs will enable more governmental funds being directed towards other social necessities such as public education, health and care of the elderly instead of homeless shelters, detention centres and rehabilitation centres.
* To provide this environment of mental, physical and emotional support requires investment in teachers, advisors and coaches.
* To provide this infrastructure of change more funding is imperative.
Therefore supporting the Shambhala Fundacion makes sense as we are creating an environment in which the youth can become productive, physically fit, employed tax-paying citizens which at the same time will create a preventative strategy to address some of the issues that need addressing on this island such as crime, unemployment and drug and alcohol dependency. All that being said and done, yes this project is important for all of us on the island but let’s never forget the youths…….. don’t they deserve an opportunity….. “At Shambhala they are driven by their aspirations, not bound by their circumstances” Let us never forget these brave warriors who want a better life… just can’t find a way to that better road… now there is!