By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
With summer approaching, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and AMIDEAST in cooperation with the Ministry of Endowments and the Ministry of Youths and Sports launched a summer activities program on Thursday.
Promoting Youth Civic Engagement is a two-year program funded by USAID which aims to engage youths in sports and recreational activities in Sana’a, Aden, and other three governorates.
The program aims to strengthen the role of community actors in positively influencing Yemeni youths and to support the expansion of youth sports and recreational activities.
Further aims include empowering youths and helping them to realize their potentials so they can make a difference in their communities and grow to become leaders.
Thursday’s launch ceremony was attended by USAID Mission Director in Yemen Robert Wilson, Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Abdulrahman Al-Hasani, Sheik Ibrahim Hassan and participating youths from Sana’a’s AMIDEAST institute.
In his speech, Wilson underlined the importance of holding such youth projects and added that USAID is pleased to collaborate with the Youth and Sports and Endowments Ministries on the summer program.
“I would like to congratulate those of you who are participating in the summer program. We are very excited to see your projects and learn about your civic activities on behalf of community development,” Wilson said.
“It exhibits your interest in your own communities’ development and we want to give you a tremendous amount of support and applause for what you are doing. We have seen a number of solar and water projects and we have also heard about your activism and the development of your communities,” he added.
For his part, Deputy Minister Al-Hasani pointed out that the cabinet had set July 15th as the day for summer programs to begin and went on to speak about the summer camps which the Ministry of Youth and Sport organizes every year.
“This year, for the first time ever, 50 permanent summer camps will be established. They will be open to students all year, not only during the summer season,” Al-Hasani said, before adding that the summer camps would offer courses in such areas as computers, English language and sewing.
During the ceremony, held at the Taj Sheba Hotel in Sana’a, program participants presented a variety of projects.
One young participant discussed a solar system project, and explained how Yemen could save on expenses and avoid systems based on the use of oil. He said that a successful project would be possible if a workshop were built and established for Yemenis to begin making solar devices in Yemen. “We should take advantage of the sunny weather in Yemen,” he said.
Another participant underlined the importance of storing rainwater and using it in our daily consumption, and pointed out how this would be beneficial for citizens.
The participants appeared ambitious and full of hope. They exhibited a high amount of confidence that they could bring about change in their communities.
Ghadeer Al-Kulaidi, after saying that she was delivering a speech to a large crowd for the first time, went on to deliver a rather lengthy but compelling speech.
Al-Kulaidi, a computer sciences student, told the National Yemen that she leads a group of 45 orphans. She said her keen attention to the orphans’ suffering and the need to take care of them resulted from the fact that both her parents were themselves orphans.
“My project aims to boost the orphans’ morale and to help them realize that the loss of their parents doesn’t mean they lost their lives as well,” said Al-Kulaidi.
“You have to be successful in order to inspire people to succeed. Therefore, these days I have to focus on my studies at Sana’a University; after I finish, I will try to focus on my project,” Al-Kulaidi concluded with a smile, having given her first speech and newspaper interview all in one day.