HM Queen Silvia of Sweden is the founder of the Mentor Foundation, an international non-government organisation, working globally to prevent drug usage. Her recent visit to Kuwait provided the opportunity for students from The British School of Kuwait to attend a presentation and press conference aimed at raising awareness amongst young people that one’s personal health is of paramount importance. Indeed, at BSK the health and safety of students and the youth of Kuwait is always at the core of our philosophy of education.
With the increase worldwide in substance abuse, BSK students and staff firmly believe that this issue can be tackled most effectively through education and greater understanding; highlighting the dangers of substance abuse, promoting the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle and making the correct personal choices is a focus of the BSK Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) programme.
Dario Gelevski of Year 12 spoke frankly about the significance of Queen Silvia’s address.
“I was very honoured when I had the chance to attend Queen Silvia's conference about ‘Drug Free Arabia.’ It was my first time in the presence of royalty so it was quite awe-inspiring. However, her presentation was something that I could relate to. She said that most young people who have friends that have started experimenting with drugs will not do anything to help them because they have to 'respect their decision. It is personal choice.’ The problem however is; what happens when it is too late…when they have abused substances to a point where they are on the brink of death. Does their 'personal choice' matter then? This is something that many of us can relate to. By respecting their decision and not listening to other advice they are the people that will hurt themselves most and as friends we will have let them down. The Mentor Foundation is a great way to raise the awareness that is needed in order to encourage young people to help each other so that substance abuse is avoided.”
BSK attendees at this auspicious event included those currently participating in the LoYAC media programme. They too were reflective on the social issues raised and stereotypes challenged and how often the issue of substance abuse is either spoken about in hushed tones or with inappropriate and misguided bravado. It will take imagination, courage and tenacity to gradually educate the young generation to make the correct choices. As Mahatma Gandhi said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." By reaching out to young people who have confidence and a strong self-image we hope they can be the nucleus for guidance and change... role models for a generation. After all good health is the most valuable gift in life.
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