Youth Shine on International Volunteer Day
Dili – Timor-Leste’s young people took center stage on 5 December as representatives from Government, local and international NGOs and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) came together to celebrate the many and varied ways Timorese youth are contributing to the development of the country. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)
More than 200 volunteers and representatives from sponsoring organizations gathered on the grounds of the Palacio do Governo for a day of lively performances, laudatory speeches and an exhibition on human rights and sustainable development, all to celebrate the annual International Volunteer Day
“The IVD 2013 celebration shows that youth in Timor-Leste not only work to earn money”, said Amandia de Araujo, the 19 year-old student chosen to represent the Human Rights Clubs of the country’s secondary schools. “They also work as volunteers to make a contribution to the development to the country.”
Young – Global – Active was the theme was this year’s celebration and young people’s enthusiasm for volunteerism and was fully on display. Ryla and Rypen, two new youth empowerment organizations performed a drama on the subject of rubbish disposal, a persistent challenge across the country.
Members of the Dejukdill Youth Centre offered two performances, one of both traditional and modern dance and the other music concert by the Dejukdill Putri Band, the well-known female blues band and winner of the 2009 Youth Super Star contest.
A highlight of the day was an exhibition, Voices for Youth, featuring more than 60 works by members of the Human Rights Clubs from secondary schools from four districts. The UNV-sponsored project gave these dedicated students the opportunity to voice their ideas and concerns about sustainable development in the country.
“Volunteer organizations support the development of the country in many ways”, said H.E. Fernando Lasama de Araujo, the Timor-Leste’s Vice Prime Minister. ”I encourage young people to participate actively in volunteerism as part of their own contribution to the development to their country.”
“Timorese youth volunteers bring substantive change to their communities and by doing so they make their mark on the future that awaits us all,” said Knut Ostby, United Nations Resident Coordinator. “Together, these young agents of change are playing an important role in advancing the Millennium Development Goals and contributing to the country’s progress in the post-2015 development agenda.”
Eleven national and international organizations with active volunteer programmes in Timor-Leste joined with UNV to make the day a huge success. They were the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Australian Volunteers International , the Australian Red Cross, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Engineers Without Borders, Austraining International , Cruz Vermelha, Ryla, Rypen, Action for Change Foundation and the Dejukdill Youth Centre.
About UN Volunteers: UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UN Volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.