Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation promotes youth engagement through innovative art competition in Pakistan
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Youth Day 2020, celebrated on August 12, was a stark reminder of the necessity to protect the most vulnerable populations in our country against the consequences of this disease, especially our youth.
It is in this backdrop that the Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation (KKAWF) – a civil society organization committed to youth empowerment through drug use prevention education – engaged with youth through an online national art competition: “Visions to combat Covid-19 through the eyes of Pakistani Youth”. This art competition held in April-May, 2020 in partnership with public and private educational institutions attracted students between the ages of 12 to 23 years. The goal was to highlight the talent of Pakistani youth with an opportunity to express their visions and impart their message on the impact of the pandemic.
Through this approach KKAWF successfully generated a healthy activity for the Pakistani youth who have to face the multiple challenges and uncertainties of a new way of life with home schooling, physical distancing and other measures taken to help curb the effects of the pandemic.
In these difficult times, the risk of youth turning to drug use to cope with stress, isolation and lack of activity is a huge concern
This painting and computer graphic competition supported the young students with a recreation-focused activity. It also served as a preventive activity to keep students away from risky behaviours while providing positive family and school environments that promote and support healthy decision-making.
The competition also provided a platform for youth to share their experiences, ideas and creativity, and to get support for sharing their visions on life during the pandemic. The art expressions also gave the youth an opportunity to convey their messages to stakeholders including policy makers and connect with other youth on social media. The winning and all other paintings and computer graphics were promoted on KKAWF social media outlets and the participating schools also showcased on their websites.
Students’ paintings were judged in three age groups 12-14, 15-17 and 18-23, whereas the computer graphics category was in the age group of 18-23 year. Three winners from each category and a consolation prize were selected by a panel of two leading Pakistan artists and KKAWF chairperson Cristina von Sperling Afridi. Winning students received medals and all participants received certificates sent to them by mail.
This competition successfully empowered the youth by creating better knowledge and understanding of the pandemic. It was hailed as a best practice for engaging youth in Pakistan
KKAWF is working since 2015 to create evidenced-based knowledge and awareness on the adverse effects of drug use among the youth and help break the taboos that exist around it. It empowers youth with life skills and helps them to identify, understand and manage emotions, to stay away from drugs and to realize their full potential of a healthy and productive life.
Despite the great harm that drug use causes to the physical and mental health of the youth population, it continues to be a strategy on the rise among youths to cope with various socioeconomic and psychological problems. KKAWF highlights the importance of focusing on prevention, and insists on the need for more concerted action worldwide to address this menace .
Some examples of the paintings and computer graphics of the young participants in the National art Competition “Visions to combat Covid-19 through the eyes of Pakistani Youth “