Today we celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) as mandated by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/40/212 in December 1985. Everyday, volunteers and organizations give their time and resources to promote peace and development in various communities around the world. This day give us an opportunity to acknowledge their efforts and bring recognition to the positive contributions that volunteerism brings to our societies.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to the more than 6,700 United Nations Volunteers, 12,000 United Nations Online Volunteers and the one billion community volunteers worldwide. You are all instrumental to the future of people and the planet. Your commitment and passion can act as inspiration to us all.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
Additional information can be found here.
September 25-27, 2016
From 25 to 27 November 2016 the Twelfth General Assembly of the Salesian Youth Movement of Europe took place at the house of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at Bled in Slovenia. The assembly was also the occasion of the launch of the new website of the Continental Movement – http://new.symeurope.eu/ – and of the vote for the winner of the contest for the official Hymn of SYM Europe, which proved to be “You are in me Don Bosco”, from the SYM in Southern Italy.
The event was attended by 49 delegates, including SYM members, Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, from 15 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The meeting is held annually. The coordinating team “Small Team SYM Europe” put at the centre of the agenda the work for the preparation of the Confronto, 2017 SYM Europe which will be held at Turin from 11 to 16 August 2017. Confronto 2017 is targeting around 300 young people. The participants will reflect and deepen on the theme “Agents of Don Bosco’s Vision, Passion and Mission” in the places of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello.
Starting from the inspiration of those places they will be able to reflect on the identity and spirituality of the Salesian Youth Movement, and at the same time reflect on the apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” of Pope Francis an invitation to the whole Church on the Joy of Love. The Strenna of Recor Major’s for 2017 “We are family! Each house a school of Life and Love” is also in line with the invitation of Holy Father Pope Francis. The history of the families of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, their call to create a family environment and family spirit for young people, will inspire the participants in their reflection and guide them in discernment for a renewed commitment on their return home.
The beliefs and the decisions which these young people will share can indeed mature on a personal level and lead to important choices in life, and in social terms, the construction of a new Europe, fraternal and united.
The next General Assembly of SYM Europe will be held in England at the Savio House Bolling, from 17 to 19 November 2017 .
A first recording of the song “You are in me Don Bosco” can be listened to on the YouTube channel of SYM Europe; the text is included in the video description.
Real boys don’t cry.
Real boys play with cars and guns.
Real men drink liquor and smoke cigars.
Real men had early sexual experience.
ARE THESE STATEMENTS REAL?
Generally and factually, in cases of sexual abuse, men/boys are the perpetrators or abusers and women/girls are the victim-survivors. Most of the programs and services of various organizations and network agencies are geared towards the helping intervention on the victim which are mostly women and children. It might be the “missing link”, that the root cause of the problem is not being addressed, which are the abusers. What could be the scenario if these perpetrators or abusers were sensitized on their Dignity? Rights? Gender? Responsibilities? and Purpose in Life?
The Laura Vicuna Foundation Inc. launched its BRAVE program – Boys Reject Abuse, Violence and Exploitation last October 15-16, 2016, where 49 boys coming from our Child Protection Clinic outreach areas gathered for the Gender Sensitivity Training. The Seminar workshop began with the Welcome remarks of Sr. Aleth Evangelista, FMA where she made great emphasis on the DIGNITY of the human person, that we are all created in the image and likeness of God, male and female He created them equally. Mr. Elino Bardillon, Communication Officer of the Council for the Welfare of Children gave a general orientation on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Ms. Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATWAP) together with her staff Ms. Clydie Pasia guided the participants to discover their identity as the male gender. They also drew from the boys their perspectives, views and sensitivities on gender issues patriarchy, productive and reproductive work, power, violence in conflict resolution . What is very powerful is the process the speakers facilitated which is very experiential and a lot of paradigm shifting happened among the boys. The speakers based from the participants’ sharing have inculcated in them the important concepts of Gender Equality, their roles and responsibilites as men, the right notion on Women, Sex and Prostitution, non-violent and peaceful dialogue in conflict resolution.
Sr. Ma. Victoria P. Sta Ana, FMA, LVF Managing Director, in her closing remarks congratulated the boys and welcome them as LVF Brave advocates to their peers. She also encouraged them to know God’s beautiful plan for them, accept oneself, value and respect differences and complementarity and to use their free will to be BRAVE all the time and become agents of a culture of peace and protection especially for all especially women and girls.
#I will not abuse girls/ women! I AM BRAVE!
#I will not patronize pornography in the social media! I AM BRAVE!
#I will not allow myself to engage in premarital relationships! I AM BRAVE!
# I will not patronize prostitution! I AM BRAVE!
#I will respect all women and girls! I AM BRAVE!
#I will avoid peers who influence me to violence and abusive talks and behavior! I AM BRAVE!
#I will advocate for the stop of all abuse, violence, and exploitation! I AM BRAVE!
These commitments of the boys clearly show how BRAVE they are!
BRAVE boys are REAL men!