The SSVP´S International Youth Committee supports virtual vincentian youth exchanges
One of the programmes launched by the CGI’S SSVP International Youth Committee is based on fostering Vincentian youth exchange, which started in 2018 and takes place on a yearly basis.
Fellow member Willian Alves, the CGI’s Vice President for the Youth, Children and Teenagers, summarises this programme as follows:
- Greater integration among SSVP’s National Youth Committees and young Vincentians from different countries.
- Close bonds of friendship among National Youth Committees by exchanging common experiences and projects.
- Opportunity to work on shared formation/training, work techniques and charitable action among member countries.
- If circumstances allow, a chance for one or more young people to travel to a host country to learn about the work of the National Council and their Youth Committee in situ to then bring the good practices they learned to their region.
- A link strengthening the spirituality within the group, following the strong points of the Vincentian charism: prayer, sharing, charity, holiness and service.
If SSVP countries are interested in taking part in this programme, they contact the International Youth Committee, which connects young people and national committees and supports communication, training and projects.
Due to Covid-19, 2020 was atypical. Committee’s International trips, on-site training and official visits were postponed, but it was possible to kick off an online Vincentian Youth Exchange programme.
Countries like the United States, Australia, India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana (as host countries) participated in this programme. The first online meeting took place on 29th August. The International Committee relied on the participation of four local coordinators from the Youth Committee (Kat Brissette – America 1, Leo Levin – Asia 1, Luke Brouwer – Oceania, Joseph Shemang – Africa 1).
Zisse Richard Nutsuglo, National Youth Coordinator in Ghana, told us about the experience: “These programmes, especially those to do with training, massively increased the commitment of young people and team leaders in Ghana, with respect to the planning and participation in SSVP activities like food donation campaigns, home visits, etc. We had meetings with young people from different parts of the world and received training from the United States, Australia, India and Nigeria. We are looking forward to taking part in more activities”.
Leo Levin, one of the International Youth Committee’s reps in this programme, also told us about the experience of engaging with young people from different countries: “During these times, the Vincentian Youth Exchange Programmes meet the basic needs of young people to continue learning and can support one another. The exchange programme aims to develop our global relationship with young Vincentians from various perspectives, like our Vincentian activities and cultural exchanges. It also motivates young people to develop their creativity and to follow the path that our founders laid for us. When we join young people from India, Australia, the USA and many other places, they get more motivated to continue their activities in their Conferences and to care even more for poor people, for which this program is very rewarding.”
The Vincentian Youth Exchange Programme can be established between two or more interested countries. Fellow member Willian Alves emphasizes the importance of communicating the launch of these programmes to the International Committee, so that the territorial coordinators can contribute and support where necessary, and even facilitate possible virtual rooms.
When we return to normal international travel, one of the initiatives of this programme is to facilitate travel and face-to-face contact for young people from different countries, so that they can encounter other realities and have a broader Vincentian and cultural vision.