The United Nations focus on youth is recognition of the fact that they are the future.
Whatever is done now will be inherited by them and their input into policies and practices is both desirable and vital. Youth does not see anything as settled, they ask questions and they challenge the status quo. This is not always easy to accept but the reality is that young women and men are already contributing to looking for solutions in innovative ways.
International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. The current generation of youth are the largest in history and young people often comprise of the majority in countries marked by armed conflict or unrest, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is common sense.
Many of our clubs are working to give the world’s youth the knowledge and experience to become productive and effective guardians of our world.
Showcasing Soroptimist Youth Projects
SI Logan, Australia - 10th Annual Leadership Day.
On Friday 12th May SI Logan successfully hosted their 10th Annual Leadership Day, attended by 96 female students in Years 10 & 11 and teachers, from 12 schools across the Logan and Brisbane.
Students and teachers were welcomed by SI Logan members to the Auditorium Springlife Conferencing in Springwood and different schools were seated together to encourage the meeting of new people and sharing stories. A conference bag of ‘goodies’, waiting on their seats provided a nice touch / ice breaker.
The official program included five guest speakers including an Official Opening by Hon. Leeanne Enoch (MP). Guest speakers inspired the audience with their presentations covering widespread topics including personality types, health and nutrition, respectful relationships, lifestyle, healthy relationships, mental health and lifelong learning. With a mix of presentations, games and engaging activities ending the day with student presentations as they shared their 'light bulb moments'.
What an inspiring and emotional end to an amazing day, Roll on 2018 Leadership Day!
SI Melba, Australia - Enpowering Young Women Through Education.
Empowering Young Women through Education is an event designed to inspire, inform and energise young women to see how the education opportunities they have now will shape the lives they have in the future.
The Breakfast for Year 9-11 students, aims to inspire and provide strategies for girls who are unengaged at school and find it challenging for a variety of reasons. Outcomes for girls who do not complete school are dire and can lead to lifelong disadvantage. For example in Victoria, only 25 per cent of women who are incarcerated, finished Year 12!
SI Melba want to broaden their horizons and show them that education creates many life and employment options and opportunities.
Empowering Young Women through Education will be held on 17 August 2017 at NAB Docklands. This year will be the fourth year running that we are holding this event. As the breakfast is free of charge to 180 school girls and their teachers, our club SI Melba fundraises throughout the year to cover the cost. This year we partnered with Adviceline Injury Lawyers and hosted a fundraising lunch on 7 June 2017 in their beautiful Terrace Room at their Bourke St Melbourne offices. The lunch entitled ‘What Would I Tell My 15 Year Old Self?’ brought 50 women from different walks of life, ages and backgrounds to reflect on their teenage years, and share their collective wisdom and life experiences. Region President and SI Melba club member Erica Myers-Tattersall facilitated a panel of four amazing women who shared their stories:
Guests enjoyed an elegant champagne lunch courtesy of our sponsors. SI Melba member Susannah Dax organised divine raffle prizes, including Georg Jensen homewares and a Mercedes Benz and winery driving experience. President Raylene spoke about the impact of the Breakfast and the work of Soroptimist International.
SI Melba thanks our generous sponsor and fabulous host Adviceline Injury Lawyers for their support which helped us raise just over $3,000 for the Empowering Young Women through Education Breakfast.
SI Dusit, Thailand - Funding Education Scholarships in Thailand
Every year representatives from SI Dusit travel to rural provinces in Thailand to meet with students who are part of an ongoing Scholarship Programme "Supporting Youth in Nakhon Ratchasima' - Korat area of Thailand, SI Dusit members Khun Pattama and Fumiko lead this project by organising a yearly visit to Korat to meet the students, principal of the school and the Governor of the province. This is a great inter Federation partnership project where three (3) friendship link clubs from Japan donate to this scholarship project.
This year, 26 girls were helped with this Programme which enables the parents, (who are all very poor) to support their girls in continuing their education. A total of Baht 77,000.00 was raised for the scholarship.
SI Dusit, Thailand - Funding Education Scholarships in Thailand
"Protecting our borders through Education", is another Programme supported by SI Dusit and was initiated by retired Army Majors and Generals near Sa Kaew Province in Thailand.
The programme was established to help maintain Thai borders, by encouraging local families to send their children to school. Children are transported by bus to different schools to continue their higher education.
SI Dusit work with the army in raising funds for 40 of these students with the proceeds helping pay for the girl’s transportation and schooling costs.
Every year a group of SI Dusit representatives travel with the army for 4 hrs to the army base to meet with the Programme recipients. Nominations for Scholarships, were presented by current SI Dusit President - Alison Owen, along with gifts and lunch provided by SI Dusit to all of the students and their families on the day.
Young girls received 6,000 baht each, with secondary and tertiary recipients receiving 12,000 baht each year.
SI Port Hedland, Australia - 'Pilbara Girl'
Pilbara Girls is an initiative of Goolarri Media (Broome) for young Indigenous women aged 16 to 25. It is about giving them the tools to realise their potential; to empower them in their endeavours; to develop their confidence to dream big and reach for the stars. It is about giving the participants the wings to fly through education workshops and a fashion parade held in Karatha.
SI-Port Hedland contacted Pilbara Girl organisers to offer support, by donating $500 cash, and $500 in personal care items to the fashion parade event along with organising transportation for the girls to and from the venues, and as dressers for their fashion parade.
The results of the programme revealed in a huge transformation of 11 rather shy girls in their mid-teens when they attended their first workshop, to a group of confident young women who demonstrated a strong bond and connection to each other. We saw a young girl with a disability complete the program in an all-inclusive and supportive atmosphere.
Speaking with two former "Pilbara Girls" who attest to the life changing effect the program has had, and of the lasting friendships they have developed.
SI Damansara, Malaysia – LifeSkills4Youth
SI Damansara in Malaysia has, over 3 years, had 1000 students graduate from its "LifeSkills4Youth" programme for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and little hope of employment.
A 7 module course in basic employment skills and life skills on work- based learning is closely monitored and evaluated. To date more than 70% of trainees have found full time employment within 3 months and the percentage of successfully placed girls has risen from 60% to 82%.
SI Lautoka, Fiji – Develop Future Leaders to Protect our Environment
Si Lautoka has undertaken a project designed to develop future leaders to protect the environment. Year 11 students were recently given the opportunity to hear from University specialists in climate and the environment.
As a Small Island Developing State(SIDS) Fiji is at risk from climate change and students learned first-hand about issues and how action needs to be taken to protect the future .Future leaders will come from this age group and they need to be aware of issues.
SI Lautoka, Fiji - Our Oceans, Our Future
"Power is not really in the person but it is in the environment and most of us makes mistakes because we do not realize this and live with the misconception that human beings are more powerful." These sentiments were echoed by Dr Ajantha Perera during the World Ocean day awareness program organized on June 22 by Soroptimist International Lautoka Club at Lautoka Central College attended by year 13 students.
Dr Perera, an environmental advocate originally from Sri Lanka is based at the University of Fiji and her strong message to the students was that the people with wisdom are the ones that have understood and respect the environment. She also informed the students that this year's United Nations theme is 'encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future'.
"One of the things that I have understood from Sri Lanka to Fiji to South Asia to any country in the world most of the problems is due to polythene and littering.
" Not every person is going to the sea but every person is littering every person is producing waste which we still have not understood how to handle this".
"The ocean is sustaining us but it is also takes in whatever you are giving and when the ocean is angry it reacts. Tsunami is a very good example and in 2004 there was a Tsunami in Sri Lanka which killed 35,000 people within 2 minutes."
Dr Perera added that the biggest problems which are currently faced regarding the damage to the ecosystem of the ocean is over fishing, cutting of mangroves, toxic waste, garbage and oil discharge from sea vessels.
She advised the students to create an awareness to save the ocean at their institute and in their communities with unique ways like paintings to catch the attention.
SI Lautoka followed this advocacy work through an essay competition for the year 13 students with attractive prizes for the top three essays.
The total number of year 13 students at Central college is around 100 and Lautoka Club received many essay submissions. The greatest achievement of this project is that SI Lautoka managed to not only engage an excellent resource person like Dr Perera for this advocacy work but also connect with Fiji's youth, helping educate them on the importance of ocean conservation work. Prizes were award to the winners of the competition.