- By peace
- 27 September, 2012
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The Editorial Meeting for the Youth Summary was held at Peace Child International’s Headquarters last October. It was extremely successful and the Summary of the UNESCO Report on Education, Skills and Work is now all but complete. We would like to thank the Editors, listed below, with their biographies, and all the members of the Task Force who contributed comments, stories, photographs and illustrations for the Summary.
The editors came from all over the world. In addition to their writing and artistic talents, they are all also involved in different ways in working with disadvantaged young people, so were able to bring a wide range of different experiences to this meeting. Here they are in their own words:
UK Editorial Meeting Group:
Stephen Swai from Tanzania
My name is Stephen Obed Swai. I am 26 years old and I am from Tanzania. Working with young people has been one of the most interesting part of my life: I am able to connect with the most youthful energies, drawing my inspirations from the sense of pain and hope present in their lives. I feel like I am working with a deep part of me, like I am connecting with myself.
I have been a youth advocate in the developing world focusing in the issues affecting young people in these areas of unemployment and representation. But mostly I am interested with the rights of the minorities; fighting indiscriminately for their access to education and acceptance.
I am a freelance journalist writing about an array of issues. I have held a column for a year and two months in Malaysia, writing about the experiences of an international student abroad. I also took the opportunity to write about some of the excellent students in Borneo, excelling in their studies and also in their extracurricular activities. I also have had the experience editing a book called, The Penan on the Move by author James Ritchie. I am currently posting a couple of blogs detailing the experiences in my life abroad. I am also putting up a poetry book about the World Youth Congress in Rio de Janeiro this year. The book called, Beneath Broad Shoulders, is an introspective look at the congress and what it did to me and the other young people who attended.
Huong Dang Thu from Vietnam
Greetings from Huong Dang Thu, 24 years, Vietnam! I am aware how important of being well equipped with good skills required by labour market to have better chance for employment in the future. I am also aware how challenging it is for my disadvantaged peers in my country to gain these skills, yet they possess the same potential to master the skills. I have spent considerable time with young people with disabilities and young people living in poverty in urban, therefore particularly understand their barriers to get the access to education and employment opportunities. I feel grateful to be a part of this project as it gives me a lot of helpful information on youth, skills and works. I believe if every youth in the world was aware of these facts and information provided in the report, our generation would be much better prepare for our future life and work. And that’s why we are here, the Task Force group, to deliver the full report of UNESCO in our languages to our peers all around the world! Thanks for my graduate education of professional communication and my experience as the chief of an internal newsletter publishing of an NGO working for people with disabilities and my work as a copywriter at Leo Burnett in Vietnam, that allows me to contribute my little skills to this amazing publication!
Srosh Anwar from Pakistan
Srosh Anwar, 27 years, Pakistan. I am a motivated photographer, writer and an aspiring entrepreneur. Through my writing and photography, I have been highlighting various social issues concerning women empowerment, education and SRHR. Currently, I am self employed at my media company ‘Rang Bhoom’ providing creative solutions like photography, documentary making and trainings. I am involved in many photography projects as well providing Digital Photography Trainings to the youth on regular basis. In the past I have worked with two national newspapers as editorial staff and done lots of freelance work.
In addition, I am a youth motivator and associated with various initiatives which let me communicate directly with the youth from my community, about the issues and challenges at local and global level. I am a facilitator at British Council for their program ‘Active Citizens’. This program is designed to motivate youth through Active Citizen’s Workshops. These workshops encompasses the concepts of identities, our relationship with our communities, use of dialogue for conflict resolution and creating a sense of community and addressing its problems starting at individual level.
I believe in the power of print and electronic media in the process of change and actively write in the local newspapers as well as photo blog on. I feel the responsibility to help bring most ignored issues to surface.. I also strongly believe talking about issues which were shoved under the carpet just a couple of decades ago, is the only way towards finding solutions. I want to keep on exploring the complex nature of social, cultural and humanitarian issues faced by the young people throughout the world, giving words to thousands of things unsaid and undone to increase their reach to the policy makers.
Naim Keruwala from India
I am Naim Keruwala, 24 years old from India. I have been working on the issue of youth empowerment and access to skills and work for the disadvantaged youth since five years now. I believe that the youth cannot be empowered socially unless they are empowered economically which cannot happen unless they are provided skills training and employment / entrepreneurial opportunities. The responsibility of providing the skills and work for the disadvantaged youth lies on the Government, International agencies as well as the corporate companies.
My experiences of working with the disadvantaged youth have been both inspiring and disheartening. Disheartening to see the youth suffering from extreme poverty and a plethora of social malice, and Inspiring to see many of them fighting all odds and achieving great heights whenever they had an opportunity. I had an opportunity to work with a young disabled youth in Ahmedabad. He fought all odds and became the manager of a social enterprise. This shows the potential of youth we haven’t tapped yet which could be achieved by skills training and work.
I have also been involved in preparation of a number of reports, to name a few: The Nirmal Gujarat impact assessment project, The urban slum sanitation survey of Gujarat, Communication needs for Disaster Management in India, Urban risk reduction study of Jaipur, Lecture series document on green jobs, in Ahmedabad, Participatory Budgeting and Outcome budgeting report for Pune Municipal Corporation and many more.
André Lucas Buriti Melo from Brazil
My name is André Lucas Buriti Melo, I am 18 years old and I am from Rio Branco, a small city in the north of Brazil, in the heart of the Amazonian region. I study Law and have worked in human rights, youth leadership and education in some projects as a volunteer. Nowadays I coordinate a recent project called “Estudar+”, which is focused on mentoring and supporting the disadvantaged youth in poor communities. I am passionate about diplomacy, international cooperation and humanitarian law issues.
Among the projects I had the opportunity to participate, I represented my state in the Brazilian Youth Parliament and, through it, I had the chance to know several states in Brazil and abroad, where I could see up close their reality, develop social activities and lead conferences on education and sustainability. During my whole life, my main motto has been “Education changes people”. Through my education, I had opportunities that I could never imagine before and most of the youth in my region never had, and that is what motivates me: Knowing that through the access to a good and inclusive education they can also achieve their dreams and contribute positively for a better world as well.
Virginia Pontarolo from Argentina
Virginia Pontarolo, 21 years old, Argentina. I think that nowadays more than ever young people needs special skills to be able to get well paid jobs that allow them to live in good conditions. Latin America is undergoing a process where in order to be able to grow as a region governments and the private sector have to unite forces and take special measures to let everyone have access to education, so as to have equal opportunities to succeed. Many students in different countries in the last time have been claiming free education for all and measures should be taken. Nevertheless the most vulnerable sector are children living in poor conditions who can’t even have access to proper food, therefor many organizations are taking care of this situation in order to fight malnutrition with education for their mothers as well as providing them food. I have been involved with disadvantaged young people from the outskirts of my city, Rosario, teaching them through games through games interpersonal and team skills, trying to make them see other perspective of life as well as providing them food.
I am also interested in the role played by disabled young people who find many obstacles on the way of being fully integrated in the world of work because they don’t find the support that the government should provide them. I’ve worked with APPLIR an NGO focused in providing children with mental disabilities special training through workshops that prepares them to be waiters as full staff at catering services.
Currently I am studying Mass Communication and I have led the Communications of AIESEC, which provided me with experience in Social Media.
Angad Singh from St Lucia
I am Angad Singh aged 24 from the beautiful island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. I am passionate about youth empowerment, contributing to public policy, capacity building and environmental awareness within communities and also representing the views of the Caribbean region’s youth which are often under represented at the International level.
I am an active member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) for the past 4 years. CYEN focuses its resources on empowering young people and their communities to develop programmes/actions to address socio-economic and environmental issues. The CYEN programme aims at addressing issues such as poverty alleviation, youth employment and natural resource management issues. Teaching young children about Environmental Education and the Green Economy is central to my organisation’s aims (http://www.cyen.org/).
My experience in editing originates from conducting many academic research projects such as on the Toco/Salybia Coral Reef in Trinidad and Tobago. I also undertook research projects related to the sustainability of Trinidad’s energy industry such as ‘How Sustainable is the Energy Industry in Trinidad?’ I was part of the policy and drafting committee in preparing ‘The Caribbean Youth Position on the Green Economy in preparation for Rio +20.’ Additionally, I have held the position of Country Consultant for St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago for Global Investment I Ltd. UK where I compiled reports to be published in the Sunday Telegraph, UK.
My ultimate aim is to see young people playing a more active role in environmental decision making. I sincerely wish to be a part of this change.
Lubna Sadek from Egypt
My name is Lubna Sadek, I am 24 years old Egyptian. I graduated two years ago with a bachelor degree of Political Science. I am currently enrolled in a Master’s degree for Global Affairs because I wanted to enhance my knowledge and qualification to have a better future with my career.
I am really interested in helping the disadvantaged youth field, so I have volunteered to work with a youth organization that helps developing the disadvantaged, poor children to have a brighter future. We help them gain their basic education rights for reading and writing because most of them are in 4th grade, and they cannot even write one sentence. We also help them having work skills through group and personal activities that improve their talents and skills in all fields.
Actually, it has been an honour to work on such project and take actual actions in the subject I am interested in, which is giving the disadvantaged children something tangible to have hope. The whole task force members are an amazing team to work with; they are all motivated youth who really want to give outskirts children a better, brighter future.
This chance allowed me to implement my writing and editorial skills, as it was my first time to work on a publication that I am sure will have a great impact.
Raluca Besliu from Romania
My name is Raluca Besliu. I am a 24 years-old Romanian. I am particularly interested in the educational problems faced by my country, such as digital learning and alternative learning methods, improving access to school for disadvantaged minorities and second chance education. I have recently finished an MSc in Refugees and Forced Migration Studies at the University of Oxford, during which I studied the problems facing youth living in camps.
I have previously worked in Romania, my home country, with an organization striving to prevent Roma children’s school dropout. During my college years, I was involved with the Vassar Haiti project, a U.S. organization that focused on building a school in Haiti, providing a lunch program for the students in the school and adequate teachers. Also, for the past two summers, I have been teaching English in a summer school taking place in Geoagiu, a Romanian village, for children aged 5 to 11. It was a great experience for gaining more knowledge about the particular problems facing rural Romanian youth. I also have experience in writing and editing. I have been publishing articles on academic journals and online newspapers since 2010. Moreover, during my time at Oxford, I was an editor for the International Society’s Newsletter, which appeared during each of the three terms, for which I was responsible to edit submissions, in order to bring them to an adequate standard.
I am very excited to be an editor for the EFA Youth Summary Report and I hope it will increase youth access to educational and work opportunities.
Wathoni Waiyaki from Kenya
My name is Wathoni Waiyaki, I am 24 and originally from Kenya. I recently joined the task force and am really impressed by the work done so far. I am a recent graduate from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Globalisation and International Development in UK. My educational experience encompasses some of the issues highlighted in the Youth, Skills and Work project. Also, I have experience writing, editing and supporting the development of project reports for an organisation called African Community Development Foundation, UK.
In relation to the Youth project, my interest regards disadvantaged youth and their educational opportunities. Prior to coming to the UK I worked for a local primary school in Nairobi, Kenya. During this period the school enrolled a student with severe learning disabilities, as their parent lacked the resources to take their child to the appropriate institution. Despite attempts to support the child, he proved impossible to care for or instruct. Due to a high student to teacher ratio and a lack of training, the institution was unable to allow this child to continue his studies. The parents were forced to withdraw their child. This was devastating since their child would not gain any employable skills to empower him to live a dignified life. Situations like this are common and many parents are forced to deal with children suffering from disabilities with little government support.
I appreciate that the Youth, Skills and Work report provides a clear picture on the Educ-ation for All goals and its overall contribution towards economic development. It is imperative that governments and development agencies continue to invest in education for all.
SELECTION NOTES – HOW THESE EDITORS WERE SELECTED
by David Woollcombe, Project Director
He and Willow fulfilled PCI’s mission to ‘Empower Young People’ by taking charge of assembling the Task Force(over 500 members recruited), soliciting contributions(over 700 articles/images received) and selecting the Editors, within the terms of the contract signed with UNESCO. This required us to select editors for the Editorial Meeting to ensure gender and age balance (to include youth from across the spread of the target age range: 18-30) with quotas from the following areas: Africa x 2; Asia x 2; Latin America x 2; Europe x 2; MENA Region x 1; North America / Caribbean x 1. Because both Editor and Designer are from Europe, we asked UNESCO to allow us to bring 3 editors from Asia (which had the highest number of strong candidates) and only 1 from Europe. This decision was approved. The criteria further required us to choose individuals who had sent in high calibre submissions and experience relevant to the project – especially experience of working with disadvantaged young people. We also required editorial experience, copy-writing experience, and digital skills to allow us to fulfil to potential of the Online Editorial Meeting. Several were selected – and the final selection was dependent on if the selected candidates could get time off work/school – and a visa – to come to the UK. (Selected editors who did not get permissition / visas were engaged in the Online Editorial Meeting.)