SAI International School conducted an online International Youth Day (IYD) with 11 countries on Sunday, November 15, 2020. They choose a topic of importance to the youth to talk about the issues to bring about a change in the minds of the people and how they feel about it. The topic this year was A Step Forward: A Global Conversation on Mental Health. Every year the annual International Youth Day was conducted at a public place where audiences from all over the city joined for a cause. But this year due to the pandemic SAI International conducted it online where youth from all across the Globe were invited to be a part of this year’s cause. Round Square Schools from South Asia and the Gulf, Europe and Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa and Australia and East Asia with a participation of more than 500 students from 23 Schools of 11 countries, including Australia, Oman, UAE, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Japan, UK and India participated.
The opening session was preceded by Dr Harish Shetty a Psychiatrist with an extensive experience in the field of mental health especially in connection with disasters. He is a governing body member of the NTA appointed by the Government of India. He was overwhelmed with joy to see students from across the globe attending the seminar he said, ” Students from different countries under one platform is the finest ‘ peace gene ‘ for promoting harmony across the globe. Dialogue on ‘ mental health ‘, helps instill resilience and self -awareness early in life. With such programs SAI International is helping build ‘ empathy ‘ across the universe “.
IYD 2020 at SAI International School aims to create a level of awareness and understanding about mental health and well-being that is particularly relevant in today’s trying times. It will create a positive safe space where people of different cultures and experiences come together to share their views and ideas and create ways to overcome these issues.
While in the closing session Dr. Sriya Bhattacharyya, Psychologist, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Health Equity at Harvard Medical School and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA. While delivering her speech she said that, “it is a beautiful and important program – A Step Forward brought youth from around the world together to discuss Mental Health and develop plans to solve complex problems. I am impressed by the bravery, self awareness, and comprehensive solutions from the students. They give me hope for the future of all our mental and emotional health around the world.”
Besides the Opening and Closing Sessions students were divided into 12 groups called Barazzas and each barazza had a theme to discuss. The theme for the Barazzas groups were focused on mental health issues faced by today’s youth, themes include Body Image, OCD, Bullying, Self-esteem, PTSD, ADHD, Gender Bias, COVID 19, Depression, Racial Stereotypes, Anxiety, Parentification. During the Barazza participants will have open discussions on mental health issues they are facing in their respective country they will have short debates and write a resolution on how to bring light to mental health issues in their homes and local communities. All the ideas discussed will be compiled into an e-book and will be shared between all participating schools.
Dr Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Founder and Mentor SAI International School, thanked the guest speakers for their valuable talks. He also delvered a talk on “Happiness at Home”, followed by an interactive session with the students. He said a positive and a happy mindset can do wonders, if practiced fully. He was happy to host the 11 countries at SAI International IYD 2020 celebrations with a cause much needed for the millennial.
This event also focussed on the Round Square IDEALS of Internationalism and Leadership by connecting students globally, encouraging and educating them to be mental health warriors in their youth communities and friend circles. Many of the Round Square Discoveries will also be inclusive of this programme including Communication skills, Inquisitiveness, Appreciation of diversity, Ability to solve problems, Sense of responsibility, Courage, Self awareness, Teamwork, Compassion.