3 May 2007

Tonga's Youth Congress says strides being made towards ending discrimination

10:53 am on 3 May 2007

The director of Tonga's Youth Congress says strides are being made towards ending discrimination against young people.

Elaine Sihoatani Howard -- whose the Pacific representative on the Commonwealth Respect and Understanding Commission -- says some Tongan traditions are still barriers to business.

Ms Howard says a reliance on remittances from overseas is holding back many young Tongans from involvement in enterprise:

"I hear people in their forties or fifties complaining that young people don't know how to work, that they don't value hard work, that they expect money to come to them. But I think that that's the way people grow up these days; where their brother, their sister, their grandmother, they send money from overseas. So"

the desire to work, to make that two dollars, is not there. And we need to really do something to combat that.

Ms Howard says many young people in Tonga can't get start-up loans from the bank because they don't own land - which is usually collateral.