In Bulgaria it is very common to see the young and even minors smoking in public places including schools. Despite existing national laws that prohibit the sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years of age, there is little done to enforce this. Moreover, while smoking is injurious to health, there is a great lack of education in schools on the negative effects of smoking on the user, society and the environment. We want a healthy youth of today to lead a brighter tomorrow, not just in Bulgaria but all across Europe as underaged smoking is not a problem only in Bulgaria but it is also present in multiple Member States in the EU.
We believe that change is more effective when applied from an earlier stage. This is especially applicable in the case of smoking which only gets more difficult to quit when the habit is formed. As such, we believe that enhanced methods of education and awareness on the negative effects of smoking will help to act as a deterrence to underaged smoking. Likewise, youth who already have begun smoking and wish to quit must be assisted with the necessary means to break this habit. Therefore, this initiative of ours looks at enabling young people to make smarter choices about their health, well-being and future by avoiding the use of cigarettes.
A wide-spread problem among youth is finding the right or suitable career path. This problem largely arises due to countless disorganised sources and information of little effective use. Additionally, with the lack of guidance and understanding, there is little done to guide youth at-large with this. Moreover, we also note the discrimination stemming from misinformed societal notions faced by youth from marginalized groups especially when they are entering the job market. As such, we want informed youth, equipped with the right skillset to jointly build a future for themselves and contribute to society in bountiful manners, as this problem of having a lack of guidance in seeking the right career path is not just one faced in Bulgaria but across Europe.
We believe that having better access to more organised and verified job-specific information will be very useful for youth when seeking a right or suitable career path. Similarly, we also want to have the right means to fight discrimination in our society and help youth from a marginalized background in bettering their education, job and future prospects. Therefore, this initiative of ours believes that with enhanced awareness along with a coordinated fight against disinformation and misinformation, we are able to tackle the main issue of enabling a better career path for youth from all backgrounds. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future.”
Despite countless efforts by civil society organizations across Europe and the world, homophobia remains a pressing issue which is sadly often institutionalized on the nation state level. Especially young victims of homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic harassment often feel alone and have a very difficult time keeping up with grades and education in general. It is crucial to recognize that homophobic attitudes in individuals mostly form at a young age and are difficult to correct later on. This proposal therefore advocates for intensifying the fight against homophobia among youth, fostering inclusivity and acceptance while ensuring that everyone can live their lives peacefully and in harmony with themselves.
We believe that discrimination and hate crime against youth who are homosexual is a growing problem and needs more attention, dialogue and concrete action. We observed that homosexual youth are often even denied their right to education because of discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The European Parliament had voted in March 2021 declaring all of the European Union as an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone. We see this as a first step to concrete action on the European level and want to build on it for the youth of today who will be the future of tomorrow. Therefore, this initiative of ours looks to help foster a Europe that is inclusive and accepting of our youth. A plural European society is vibrant and one that must be celebrated, embraced, protected and nurtured all across Europe.