The best investment for a community is an investment in its youth. The Ismaili youth of today – the leaders of tomorrow - are more global, technologically advanced, and exposed to more diverse career options compared to the previous generation. What is required, therefore, is to facilitate the youth to best achieve their ambitions whilst also developing empathy in them to serve the community in leadership roles.

One such platform to effectively channel the youth’s energy and fuel their creative minds is the Broadening Horizon Youth Camp (BHYC). A flagship programme of the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board (AKYSB) for Pakistan, BHYC aims to ensure that youth development involves making positive, informed choices when addressing contemporary challenges, that the youth takes pride in their identity, and have the ability to enhance leadership skills to become ambassadors of the community. Organized in Lahore and Islamabad, this year BHYC is welcoming 65 participants from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds across Pakistan, including the Aga Khan Development Network’s (AKDN) priority valleys. While BHYC has a rich history of presence in Pakistan, over a decade, this year the camp is aiming to reach new heights through three key features.

Firstly, to promote positive youth development, BHYC is collaborating with diverse institutions including National Council institutions such as the Aga Khan Education Board, the Aga Khan Health Board, ITREB, and National Arbitration and Conciliation Board, AKDN agencies such as the Aga Khan Culture Service Program and Serena Hotels as well as international development organizations like the United Nations Development Programme and World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

Secondly, recognizing the global debates on sustainable development and climate change, this year BHYC is mainstreaming environmental stewardship through several activities, most exciting of which is a day in the Margalla Hills National Park in Islamabad. The camp is sensitizing youth to appreciate and engage with nature by abandoning single use plastic, recycling and minimizing waste during the camp.

Finally, recognizing the creative aspirations of the youth, a major portion of the camp is dedicated towards a social impact challenge. The participants are being trained on social entrepreneurship after which each group will design a social business idea which is both socially conscious and economically feasible.   

By the end of the camp, the participants will form lifelong friendships with the diverse group of Pakistani youth and see themselves as part of the national and global Ismaili community. It is hoped that all participants become agents of change in their respective communities and are able to positively influence their families and peers. More importantly, through the knowledge acquired and experiences shared during the camp, it is anticipated that they will continue to engage with Jamati institutions and take leadership roles in the years to come.