Focus on Youth

Focusing on Youth is one of the strongest, least expensive methods by which communities can advance as whole communities. Youth bring communities together.


Energy—this is the resource. Youth have energy, but they can also mobilize the whole community’s energies.


All communities have youth—in the love for their children is a cohesion on which community advancement can build. (This is very similar also to the way community cohesion builds when local sports teams start winning games.)


What We Are Doing:

  • Class of 2007 alumna, Tshering Yangzom (of Bhutan) founded Tiny Toes Day Care after graduating to serve up to 50 children aged 2 1/2 – 5 years in the capital city of Thimpu. Her daycare center goes much further than childcare alone, which Yangzom says is thanks to “the role of parents and the larger community in creating a rich and supportive learning environment for these youth.” Through parent and community participation, Tiny Toes Day Care offers children’s yoga, storytelling classes, library lessons, field trips to inspire community values, and children-parent activities like baking classes and Sports Day. Her daycare is growing to become a national model for private daycare centers, serving as a training site for Ministry of Education officials and other daycare teachers. Yangzom’s classmate, Jarka Lamacova (from the Czech Republic) joined the training extension effort by taking a year-long sabbatical from a university teaching position to live in Bhutan and work at Tiny Toes.

  • Class of 2009 alumna, Tsering Digi (from Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region) mobilized her community through a local non-profit in her home and capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. The organization, Hope Corner, focuses on activating the community’s youth in service of others. Digi coordinates youth learning and service opportunities at Hope Corner, and forged a partnership with the Lhasa Municipal Youth League in order to extend and expand these enriching opportunities to more people.

  • While a student, Class of 2005 alumna, Pratima Singh (of India) worked
    with her sponsoring organization, CHIRAG, on a district-wide program for integrated youth development and conservation. Her practicum research involved measuring empowerment indicators among adolescent women in Uttaranchal, India, the results of which demonstrated that those who had received health training were empowered to begin practicing preventative behaviors at home and in their community.

  • Class of 2011 alumnus, Ajmal Shirzai (of Afghanistan) focused his graduate research on how to build synergy and coordination across different local governmental institutions in Afghanistan. Basing this work in four villages of the Surkh Rod and Behsud districts in the Nangarhar province of Eastern Afghanistan, Ajmal ultimately recommended the promotion of a decentralized government with independent local institutions who are aware of each other’s duties in order to strengthen the political structure and coordination among branches. He continues this work, now serving as the Country Program Director for Future Generations Afghanistan. Despite Afghanistan’s large youth population, young people under the age of 25 are in many ways marginalized from state building efforts and the political process. With a weak governmental structure and insufficient recreational facilities or other opportunities for their constructive community involvement, a high proportion of Afghan youth have fallen prey to criminals who recruit them as insurgents, drug-traffickers and users. To protect Afghan youth from a world of violence and crime and promote positive participation in the community, Future Generations Afghanistan recently organized a recreational volleyball program including five teams that faced off in a volleyball tournament.