Youth Centres Share Their Achievements
By Svetlana Shegai
Kyrgyzstan, 16 September 2011: A Norwegian delegation has visited Mady village to see the UNICEF-created youth centre that brings young people from different ethnic backgrounds together as part of the reconciliation and peace process.
At the time of the visit of His Excellency Dag Malmer Halvorsen, the Ambassador of Norway to the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, and Anne Marte Amble, Deputy Head of Mission, young people were tackling English grammar in one classroom and mastering computer skills in the adjoining room. Other centre users were waiting to meet the guests in the conference hall.
The guests asked the young people about their aspirations, concerns, and plans for the future. They were also briefed on the youth centre’s mission and activities. The centre, along with another 15 around Osh and Jalalabat provinces, was established to engage young people, particularly the most vulnerable, in conflict resolution, leadership, problem-solving, and life skills development. The centres also offer opportunities for leisure, and resources such as media and the internet.
“Initially it was hard to get people from different ethnic groups to come here. But we kept working. It is slowly but surely turning into a symbol of unity”, said Sovetbek, the centre’s coordinator.
Ambassador Halvorsen was pleased to hear when centre users indicated their desire to stay with their communities and work together to bring about positive change.
“It is good that UNICEF is supporting the centre, providing a venue for multi-ethnic interaction and contributing to a peaceful future”, said Ambassador Halvorsen.