Over half of Ethiopia’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-24 years. Many of the youth face diverse problems and live with constant life challenges. Especially in urban centers of the country, the number of delinquent juveniles is increasing. In Addis Ababa alone it is believed that there are over 100,000 people living on the streets, and more than half of these are young people. This number is increasing every day due to poverty and migration of people from the rural to urban areas in search of a better life. It is also due to children losing parents to AIDS and other causes. These young people are often involved in socially undesirable practices, such as frequenting brothels and drug and alcohol abuse. Many youth commit crimes such as robbery and other offenses. According to police reports more than half of all the arrested criminals are young people. Other available evidence also indicates that young people commit most criminal offences including drug abuse and other harmful practices in Ethiopia.
The mushrooming of foreign videocassettes and films in the country is also believed to negatively affect the personality of today’s youth in particular. Being left with low or no access to recreational centers or to leisure time activities, a number of youths are flooding to video shows most of which are full of violent, immoral and pornographic acts. What is still worse is that these films make the youths develop negative attitude towards their own culture, country and people. These young people seem to know nothing good about their homeland except that they despise it by comparing it with that of affluent societies. As a result it is not uncommon to observe immoral acts they often emulate from the film-shows. Since they spend much of their time on watching films and practicing other socially undesirable activities, they fail to regularly attend their classes and acquire proper knowledge, which determines their future.
One of the major factors that seriously aggravate the problems of the youth is the absence of sufficient employment opportunities. A lot of school dropouts and those who complete high school education but with no opportunity to join higher learning institutes could not but remain dependent on their parents or guardians meager resources. Unfortunately a considerable number of them spend almost half of their time in such a state. As a result, those youths who particularly come from low income parents often become hopeless and involved in prostitution and end up contracting HIV/AIDS. Frustrated by the challenges of getting reliable means of subsistence, some young people seem to have lost faith and a vision of tomorrow’s world. The situation calls for an immediate attention to assist in curbing the present trend of the young in Ethiopia. It is with this understanding and a sense of responsibility to serve God and people that Youth Impact came to existence.