One STEP at a Time

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Participants striking a pose in front of Sir Stamford Raffles’ Statue at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall

Since its inception in 1997, more than 2,200 youths have participated in the Singapore Technologies Endowment Programme (STEP) Sunburst Youth Camps. Funded by Temasek Trust, STEP’s objective is to gradually build a stronger sense of connectivity and community as well as foster a spirit of goodwill among the youth of Asia. This year for the 18th STEP Sunburst Youth Camp, 150 youths between the ages of 16 and 18 from 11 nations came together in December 2015 for a week-long cultural exchange and bonding experience in Singapore.

For the first time, Japan was added to the camp’s growing roster of countries that already includes ASEAN member countries as well as China and India. Through a series of team building activities, cultural visits in and around Singapore, and interactive talks and exhibits, the participants got to know each other well and gained a better understanding of their cultural differences. Aimiya Kazuma, a participant from Japan shared, “We are now facing global warming and many challenges around the world. Thanks to the camp we have come together as friends, to hopefully one day find solutions to these global problems together.” Over time, via its vast alumni network, the camp aims to build better cultural awareness and connectivity among the youth of Asia, one step at a time.

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About the Camp’s Highlights

About the importance of investing in youth development
Investing in young people makes economic sense. Linking education and training programmes to future labour market demands can help countries tap into the productive potential of youth. By increasing spending on quality education and youth training camps, governments will create opportunities for more youth to act as bridges between nations, which will in turn help promote peace and better intercultural understanding for generations to come.

Did you know…
A total of 717 million young people aged 15 to 24 live in the Asia-Pacific region, comprising 60 per cent of the world’s youth. Many of them have benefitted from the region’s social and economic development and youth unemployment remains the lowest in the world, at 11 per cent. Despite these gains, a significant number of young people in the region still face obstacles in terms of their access to sustainable employment, education and health-care. The transition from education to employment is one of the main obstacles facing youth today, especially those from South-East Asia. (Source: The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia or UNESCAP)