Celebrating International Youth Day in Cameroon

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By FAHFED and Club des Jeunes Aveugles Rehabilites du Cameroun (CJARC) under coordination by Ntiokam Divine, Global Youth Digital Advocate post-2015 and MY World 2015

During International Youth Day 2014, Sought Out Cameroon gathered 3 groups for a discussion on the post-2015 agenda, the IYD2014 theme of Youth and Mental Health and MY World. Here is a report on what they had to say:

159Challenges for Visually impaired people:

  • They are marginalized because of their disability
  • They are not inclusive in decision due to the disability
  • They lack of materials in their institution
  • They are urban
  • They are well and duly registered under the Government

096Challenges for Young Women:

  • They are unemployed
  • They were not able to continue their studies
  • They need some materials for training
  • They need to reinforce their capacities
  • As volunteers of the Association, they are well and duly registered under the Government

053Challenges for Refugees:

  • Unable to feed themselves, attend school, face deplorable situation. Children are obliged to do part time jobs to sustain themselves and face child labour practices.
  • Couple of months ago while Eunice was a maid she lost one of her fingers with a knife during her exercise as house maid, and til this date she is still suffering the pain. When the crisis started in Central African Republic, her younger brother Salomon was in class 6 (African standard) , while she was in her 1st year in medical school.
  • Upon arrival in Cameroon, the UNCHR has been so helpful in getting their refugee status legalized, but unfortunately it is still on going due to huge number of applicants, which make things difficult for them as far as getting equal opportunities as other nationals.
  • They do not have a status yet, but are volunteers of the Association

In all cases, the representatives from these groups feel the MDGs did not affect them because they were not even informed. They feel the post – 2015 agenda will be different because it gives them the opportunity to get their voices heard and they could take action for their well-being and for the development of their society.

 

#REF4Women: Advocating for Women in Development through MY World 2015

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By Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, Youth Advocate for MY World 2015

The Red Elephant Foundation (REF) is an initiative built on the groundings of story-telling, civilian peace-building and activism for gender sensitivity. We recognize the many different challenges women and girls continue to face in today’s world.

As such, we look forward to strengthen our actions in favor of gender equality within the international community. To do so, we have become official partners of the MY World Global Survey on the Post-2015 Development Agenda aiming to position gender equality as one of the top priorities of international development.

REF 1We believe global civil society plays a very important role in the construction and follow-up mechanisms of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Through MY World, which represents a fundamental tool to share some of our needs and interests as global citizens, we can have a real impact towards the adoption of new global development policies and actions led by the United Nations.

We are a committed group of over 70 volunteers of all ages living in 30 countries. We specifically work on the promotion of online and offline voting in the MY World Global Survey and we have developed different strategies and activities aiming to reach the most vulnerable and isolated communities.

REF 2Our strategy is simple: we create awareness on post-2015 processes among our volunteers and staff, which is expected to gather over 200 votes. We request them to do the same with their family members, colleagues and friends. Once they have completed this step, we ask them to engage in offline voting among civilians of their respective countries, especially in communities where there is limited Internet access. We particularly care about the participation of children and elders.

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MY World gives young girls in Thailand a special voice

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Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and Kannika Jarusuraisin, External Relations Officer, P&G Thailand pose for a photo with the girls from Rajvithi Home.

BANGKOK–Sitting in a plastic chair in a cold quiet room, Nok isn’t eager to share her story.  She’s reserved, quiet, and often leans on the shoulder of her friends.

Like many of the young girls at Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok, they come from traumatic backgrounds—domestic violence at home, orphaned at birth, or innocent victims of their parent’s divorce.

“My parents divorced when I was young and I didn’t get along with my new mom,” Nok said. She’s been at home for just year after transferring from another home in Isan.

With tears welling up around her deep brown eyes, reveals that she wanted to stay with her mother, but her father refused. Now around 12, she doesn’t know where her birth mother is.

Now her home now is here. Her teachers often take the role of mothers, and she is looked after by her peers, and in turn looks after children younger than her.

On a Sunday morning, Procter and Gamble and the United Nations in Thailand paid a visit to Rajvithi Home for Girls and spoke to more than 300 girls about the importance of sharing their voices and their concerns. Using the MY World Global Survey, more than 200 students and volunteers cast their votes—each with a reason—all with different stories.

“The United Nations is committed to empowering women and girls in Thailand and around the world. The voices of these young women are a critical part of our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can during this very important campaign,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and MY World National Campaign Director in Thailand.

The Rajvithi Home for Girls is home to more than 350 girls aged 5 through 18. Many grow up there, are schooled there, and are allowed to stay through their undergraduate university studies.

But it’s a long road for these young women.

“Many of them have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or have medical ailments like anemia, which can be caused by malnutrition at birth,” said Ms. Patchara Klangsathorn, Child Psychologist.

Yet these girls find strength through each other and within themselves.

I’ve never met my real parents,” said Pam, who has been at Rajvithi since kindergarten.

“I take care of myself and I take care of others. I listen to the teachers (parents). I’ll change myself that way and focus on my education.”

Education topped her list of MY World priorities, along with healthcare and equality for women.

Ms. Patchara was eager to teach the children the importance of voting on the MY World Global Survey.

“Education is important, especially to teach the children about the dangers of domestic violence. It’s also important for us to have a good government, because we always need to raise awareness about the importance of schools like this that have learning disabilities,” she said.