“We have seen time and time again that when young people are given an opportunity to be the catalyst for change, positive changes are possible.”
The fourth edition of the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) kicked off on Monday (14 January) at the world-renowned Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar.
The camp brought together youth aged 18-25 in order to teach them the best practices in using sport as a tool for positive change in their communities.
Of the 29 young people from Africa and the Middle East, two participants represented the Paralympic Movement: Francis from Sierra Leone and Hassan from Palestine.
The group will return to their home countries on 25 January with a clear vision of how they can make improvements in their community by harnessing the power of sport.
“It is really important to have representatives from the Paralympic Movement,” said Mariona Masdemont, who is representing the IPC there.
“Especially attendees with a disability become a role model for the rest of the participants.
“After the session a lot of young people approached us to explain the situation in their countries. They shared with us the difficult situation that people with an impairment are living with in their countries.
"We hope that with our ‘grain of sand’ and our help they can change the situation in the future years.”
The YLC is the initiative of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, and his Office, UNOSDP.
“We have seen time and time again that when young people are given an opportunity to be the catalyst for change, positive changes are possible,” said Lemke. “I am convinced that today will be the first day of a remarkable journey for these 29 young people”.
Over the course of the 10-day program, the youth will undertake both theoretical and practical training from organisations like the IPC, Right to Paly, Boxgirls International; sport federations like the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), and the International Judo Federation (IJF); and a special facilitation by Liverpool Football Club.
Further camps will be held in Switzerland, Sweden and the Republic of Korea in 2013. The YLC aims to strengthen a broad range of leadership, technical and transferable skills of youth and supports them as multipliers for implementing UN goals.
In order to promote diversity and ensure inclusion, all the camps ensure gender equality amongst the participants and always includes persons with an impairment.