Omani youths sometimes feel like they’re not young enough to be treated like kids, but not old enough to take responsibility in their own hands. Global Young Voices spoke to seven Omanis between the ages of 19 and 25, and came across two main problems they all had in common.
Communication between youth and their elders was a primary issue. Parents tend to have most control over their lives without taking their opinion in consideration, especially in stricter households.
“I have always had passion for filmmaking and photography, studying Accounting & Finance was never in my plans,” A.B. said. “But that was not an option to discuss with my family… so here I am, an Accounting & Finance major graduating in three months and still not knowing what’s next.”
Though many Omani youth can relate to the dilemma leaving them without freedom of choice, this isn’t a consistent attitude toward youth, according to those interviewed.
“People consider us too young to make decisions when they feel like it, and old and responsible enough when they feel like it,” M.S. said. “It’s all about what serves them best and this leads to confusion. People will only talk to us as adults when we ‘cause’ trouble, so they can tell us how not ‘responsible’ our actions were. Other than that, we are just a part of society whose opinion does not matter.”
By mobilizing technology today, Omani youth are able to voice their opinions and views in mass numbers across all media platforms. With the sheer number of youth getting involved online, young people are able to draw worldwide attention and help organize for causes they value. Many youth organizations are forming and workshops are conducted to support young people, an effort to create a more positive future for themselves and coming generations.
Another related problem that Omani youth are facing is a lack of independence, which leads to fear of failure. This problem arises from being dependent on adults, with the latter doing everything and taking all decisions on our behalf. When they finally consider their children old enough to take on more responsibilities, they become fearful of taking the wrong decision and disappointing people around us.
“Many youth face setbacks in life after being independent for the first time,” said Bader Al Lawati, who took part in the Antarctic Youth Programme. “However, they must have the courage to accept failure and move ahead with new vigor.”
Youth organizations such as AIESEC Oman are organizing workshops and seminars for college students to allow them express their fears and discuss ways to deal with the problems that they encounter, like applying for jobs and other obstacles they face in adult life. By doing this, these groups are trying to help young Omanis find more independence and responsibility.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV