This interview is cross-posted from UNICEF Voices of Youth’s official website:
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Rehman Siddiq and I was born in the year 1990 in Karachi, Pakistan. I am studying Business Administration and currently in my final year of my studies.
Since my childhood I have always been interested in social work and community welfare activities. I volunteered for various organizations/NGOs in Pakistan like Zindagi Trust, Edhi Foundation, Karachi City Government’s I own Karachi project, international students’ organization AIESEC for which I worked 2 months in Turkey educating young children and United Nations Volunteers Online. In 2010 I founded a online group/initiative by the name of “Students of Pakistan” which recently achieved the status of an NGO (Non Governmental Organization).
I am also running 2 startups in Pakistan. I like to write/blog and use the power of pen to write about the things that matter. Previously my blogs/columns (letter to editors) regarding social issues have been published in various blogs and newspapers. I have also been a delegate at major events/forums and represented my country in countries like UAE, France, Turkey and Germany.
One of my dreams is to become a politician in Pakistan and serve the nation.
What are the expectations of young people in your country or community?
Pakistan is a country where more than 50% of the population is below the age of 30. I believe a new generation of future leaders is being born in our country and the future looks bright. Pakistan is a third world country and still faces lot of basic issues like illiteracy, severe poverty, lack of clean water etc. In my opinion one of the most important problems of Pakistan is brain drain. The youth in Pakistan wants to work in foreign countries as the opportunities are not available in Pakistan. The youth of our country is somewhat de-moralized with the situation of our country. I believe they should be more active and optimistic and should serve the nation because if all the talented youth moves out of the country then it would severely affect the future of Pakistan.
Youth has to play a major role in shaping up the future of Pakistan. More emphasis should be given to entrepreneurship, joining civil services and politics.
Why is youth participation in today’s society very important/necessary?
Youth are the future leaders of any society in the world. The youth has to actively participate in development of any society. As mentioned before, Pakistan still is a developing nation and faces lots of basic problems. Pakistan is not able to develop because we haven’t got the right leadership. Corruption and Bureaucracy are prevalent in our society and few powerful families are controlling the country. The youth doesn’t take interest in politics and civil services. I think the youth needs to take part in civil services and politics and make sure that Pakistan gets the right leadership. This is the only way all the problems of Pakistan could be solved and we could develop as a nation.
Are you engaged in civic issues ? If so, what do you do?
I have devoted my time in doing social work in Pakistan for organizations such as Zindagi Trust, I own Karachi, Edhi Foundation, international organization AIESEC for which I worked 2 months in Turkey educating young children and United Nations Volunteers Online.
In 2010 I also founded an online group/initiative by the name of “Students of Pakistan” which won the prestigious Best Online Community award in 2011. We recently achieved the status of an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) and currently involved in Pakistan for issues like Education, Youth Empowerment, Poverty, Gender Discrimination and Environment.
I have also been a delegate at major events and represented my country in countries like UAE, France, Turkey and Germany. I have written blogs/columns (letter to editors) regarding social issues that have been published in various international blogs and local newspapers based in Pakistan.
One of my distant dreams is to become a politician in Pakistan and serve the nation. I believe that the problems in Pakistan can only be solved through politics. Although I cannot make a direct impact in the political situation of Pakistan as a young student, but I can make sure to get my voice heard at the top level through the power of pen. Through the platform of Students of Pakistan, I have written letters to the office of Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and current IT minister of Pakistan Ms Anusha Rehman and brought their attention towards certain laws which could/should be amended in the interest of the general public.
What is your motto or your favorite expression?
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Is there any advice or message you want to give to youth?
Martin Luther King once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. This is my message to the youth, that don’t be selfish and worried about your own life. Think about the people and the world around you. As a devout Muslim and firm believer in God, I believe that on the Day of Judgment, God will question us about the resources we had and how we used it. For example if your neighbor slept hungry and you had a lavish dinner, then you would be answerable to God for that.
If you were born in a rich family, that doesn’t make you superior over others. Instead it is that God has given you extra responsibility to take care of others who are not as fortunate as you are.