By Gloria Falefata Scanlan. YWCA of Samoa.
“When I was a little girl I have this “motto” I called it my greatest mission which is to study hard, graduate and become a great successful person, then I can go anywhere I want to go. With United Nationals Small Island Developing States Conference (UNSIDs), and being a member of Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) that great mission is almost accomplished. I’ve always dreamed of being involved in something big like this and get the chance to meet people from different countries.
On the 27th – 29th August I participated in the UN SIDS Youth Forum, where so many different topics were raised. They were divided into four (4) different Stations; Station 1: Climate Change and Biodiversity, Station 2: Water and Sustainable Energy, Station 3: Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment and Station 4: Health & Non- Communicable Diseases, Social Development of SIDS Youth for Sustainable Development including Disability.
I chose to attend station 4 and I learned so much from it. How we as young people qualify to voice our opinions globally. The main issues I learnt about included: young women who give birth do have the chance to be educated again if they still have the passion to learn and study, that they have rights to education and the right to protect herself as a mother and seek protection of her child, how we stay healthy leads to a healthy environment, for example (exercise, eating healthy and living healthy). How we can prevent ourselves from spreading diseases by promoting Sexual Reproductive Health Service and finally, that EVERYONE IS EQUAL.
On the 1st – 4th September, I went as an UN Volunteer promoting online UN volunteers services. My job was to approach someone, ask them about which country, organisation they are from and what difficulties they have (Do they have little time to develop a project? Do they need someone to design a logo for them or a leaflet but do not have relevant programmes? They may want someone to edit / proofread their materials or to translate their communication materials but they don’t have money to hire anyone for the job. Staff training is another possible requirement.
UN Volunteers have the solution for that. Through the Online Volunteering Service they can provide these services for free. Moreover both the organisation and Online Volunteer benefit from it.
It was overwhelming; promoting the Online Volunteering Service with my beautiful smile makes each day counts. In addition, what makes me and one of my young volunteer, 17 year old Sujina Vaimagalo excited and proud to be a volunteer. “It’s good to see some young volunteers from Samoa, let’s take a picture” “SMILE”…!! is what they all said.
On the 3rd of September, from 7pm to 8.30, I was part of the YWCA side event with our YWCA members, hearing young people from different countries sharing about their life journey, standing on that stage performing in front of people from other countries, the feeling of joy filled my heart.
Most of all, I learned that no one is perfect and so everyone counts. Moreover, my YWCA membership has lead to this experience because if it wasn’t for YWCA I wouldn’t be a participant in the Youth Forum, through which I also became a UN Volunteer and especially being involved with UNSIDS. This year with UNSIDS held in Samoa, it was an unforgettable moment and part of my journey, as a young strong woman representative for YWCA of Samoa. “