Melody Botya: South Africa
From the moment of conception I was destined for a life that was both challenging and exciting.
The year 2001 proved to be just that challenging and exciting.
It was on the eve of the start of the World Conference Against Racism which was hosted by South Africa in one of our beautiful cities Durban. I received a phone call notifying me that my application to attend the conference was successful and I was to board a plane for Durban the next morning. My grant application was also approved and this meant that I would not incur any (financial) expenses for the trip. The sad part was though that I had already paid a price, although not money, but a price too great to calculate. I had been the victim of racism, 4 years after our country was declared a democratic Rainbow Nation.
The exciting part about the conference was meeting people from all over the world and sharing my story with them and forging friendships that will carry for a life time. Tess was one of the people I meat and she shared her dream with me; World Trust Foundation: A youth partnership that is best embodied in these words. Unit, Empower, Ignite! Her programme aims towards connecting youth from around the globe together through her organization, thereby uniting them for the cause which is to empower young people with skills for self development. Igniting their inner voice which is not always heard understood or acknowledged to be present in young people, by those who now older seem to have forgotten what it was like to be a young person. How imperative it is for young people to be understood and accepted for, who, they are and not what the world would like to make them to be.
In 2003 I was offered the opportunity through Tess and WTF to visit Switzerland for 6 weeks taking part in the Fete d' Excellance: a youth programme that would have given me the chance to visit the United Nations headquarters, interact with youth from around the globe and gain invaluable experience and knowledge about development and skills equitation. Due to lack or the non-existence of funds I could not participate in the programme.
There again proving that from conception, birth and now living, I was destined for a life that was both challenging and exciting. As a young, black, indigenous South Africa woman I find it and have found it, difficult to realize dreams and goals because someone, somewhere would not open the door when you knock. I pray for a door to open soon, for fear that when it opens the damage will be too great and the price too high that young people have paid.
Ours is the world that realized too late, that we didn't want to be child slaves, soldiers, prostitutes and AIDS sufferers, but because they would not hear our muffled cries as the developing world (Third World Countries), orphans of Iraq and Afghanistan, starving masses of Africa and India: The dividends that will be paid to them for their investment will be: DISTRUCTION.
Annie Bird - Berkeley, CA
Who would have known as I was volunteering for Earth Day in March of 2000, that just a few months later, I would be walking the halls of the United Nations of Geneva. A combination of destiny and luck led me to Tess Cacciatore, the Founder and President of the World Trust Foundation.
There was an immediate connection between us, and as she explained a unique opportunity to be the first Youth Ambassador for Social Change, my eyes widened with excitement. This was an opportunity I could have only dreamed of, and still to this day, as I think back upon the experience, I am overwhelmingly humbled and grateful to have had such an experience.
Tess had connected with another phenomenal woman, Wilda Spalding, whose life-long commitment to Human Rights and the United Nations is inspiring. Because of these two women, I was able to go to go to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. After an intensive seminar in Los Angeles on UN protocols and issues, a group of us attended the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Sub-commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Through a series of roundtables, a group of youth were able to bring a positive spirit inside the UN discussing issues such as peace-making, human rights, and positive change. I presented research to U.N. Delegates and members of non-governmental organizations on racism and had an opportunity to interview the chair of the NAACP, Julian Bond.
A passion for international issues solidified in my mind after this empowering and life-changing experience. I am now committed to finding alternative solutions to the problems that exist in our increasingly interdependent global community and plan to pursue the work of international human rights throughout my life.
- Annie Bird
Essay from Melody Botya, before Geneva, Swtizerland
What The Summer Programme Means to Me!
Geneva, the only time in my life that I had ever heard those words was when in the Local News it was announced that a head of state or the president would be visiting this famous city. The city became famous because of the Convention that took place there many years ago, which still even today holds great significance to so many South Africans. This is what I discovered when I began to share news of my plans to attend a youth programme in Geneva this year.
My dream has always been to become involved in issues of social justice on an international level. An opportunity has arisen for me in the form of the FETE d' EXELLANCE internship / study summer programme, which takes place from July 15 to August 15, 2003. I am very excited and as a Youth Ambassador (YA) for the World Trust Foundation I am convinced that I would gain immeseaureably by studying and serving with a long time United Nations, Non Governmental Organization Representative and that it would stand me in excellent stead to better serve the needs of my compatriots in South Africa and the world in future.
"Men's hearts are feeling a tremendous surge of God's activity today. It is as if God has announced: 'The world has had my people long enough! I am calling them back to me. I will mold them and shape them for my purposes in my world!' Men are responding to this call, and God is transforming men across our nation and world. Many men understand this quickening of their souls and know precisely what God is asking of them. They are responding with a resounding, 'Yes Lord!' Others know God is speaking but are unclear as to how they should respond. Yet others recognize a deep stirring in their lives but do not recognizes it is God."
Taken from the book titled; The man God uses' written by Henry & Tom Blackaby
I believe that all the events of my life have been building me up for the life that the Lord has planned for me. I am responding to the calling to do work for my community. Failure to respond to such a duty not only as a citizen of the country, but also as a responsible young African adult,(most of all as a Youth Ambassador) would leave me empty and wandering aimlessly through life with no cause to live or die for. I have gained much knowledge and experience from the organizations that I have been enrolled with but I believe that, even with mountains of knowledge, one can never have enough of it to prepare oneself for the many trials and tribulations that we are sure to encounter on the road to successful community building and development.
I am available. "Availability the state of being ready for use." I am able. I can be held accountable for both the success and failure of the community development that I hope to achieve / accomplish with the knowledge, skill and information that I will acquire from the FETE d' EXELLANCE Internship Program this year.
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