Many of us see Jamaica as an island paradise, the birthplace of Reggae music, and home to world class athletes. But Jamaica is not perfect: The country is home to one of the world’s greatest wealth disparities and has one of the highest homicide rates. These harsh realities create a difficult environment for children. I recently had the privilege of hearing UNICEF Jamaica Representative Robert Fuderich speak about UNICEF’s programs in Jamaica, and attending this event further deepened my appreciation for UNICEF’s work.
Tag Archives for "youth"
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF New England Regional Office recently hosted a community event focused on fostering global citizenship. The event, “Engaging Kids, Schools and Communities: Re-introducing Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and TeachUNICEF to Boston” concentrated on two specific U.S. Fund for UNICEF programs: our educator resources known as TeachUNICEF and our annual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. As the Boston Global Citizenship Fellow, I was excited to plan an event focused on global education and the engagement of young people through service opportunities. The event met and exceeded my expectations as it was truly a community event, with representation from Boston-area parents, teachers, non-profit organizations, students, and religious leaders, all of whom were excited to learn how different community groups were active in educating, advocating and fundraising on behalf of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
I recently traveled to Kosovo for the inaugural Kosovo Innovation Camp, a UNICEF sponsored, 48-hour intensive retreat that brought together 80 young people to develop six projects, from idea to business plan. The goal of UNICEF’s Innovations Lab Kosovo is threefold: to develop new solutions for some of Kosovo’s problems, empower young people to be a part of the solution, and connect them with community leaders. By these measures, the event was a huge success. Watching these young people in the room, it was easy to imagine the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin coming from Kosovo. The participants’ ideas, ability to connect different technological solutions, and energy were contagious, and I found myself wondering how many great ideas we may have missed out on just because there was no access to a mentoring, support, and peer network such as this one.
I was recently in Morocco, visiting a computer lab supported by Dell YouthConnect, the Dell signature giving program, which works to increase access to technology for youth in at-risk communities of Casablanca and Rabat. Through Dell’s generosity, we are able to build computer labs, bringing in computers, printers, LCD projectors, and teachers to train youth on information communications, and technology skills and to provide computer access to young people, as well as the adults who use the community centers while kids are at school.
The Warren Prep Academy is a small primary school in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, made famous in many Spike Lee films. Not nearly as famous is the nurturing community of learners inside this school’s walls. Guidance counselor Rasheeda Brown believes in the two aforementioned five-word phrases, and she organized a career fair to give them substance. TeachUNICEF brought the global education angle to a point made by the remarkably wide range of career areas there: that they are going to have to work with all kinds of people as they embrace their tomorrow.
Recently, at a UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, three young adults were invited to lead and make their own voices heard. The UN Global Platform provided an amazing opportunity for these youths to join in the conversation, and the extraordinary young adults Andra and Tricia, both 14 from the Philippines, and Johnson, 17, from Kenya rose to the occasion.