Socially-engaged Young Leaders from Montreal, Benin and Nepal Receive Top Honours at Canada World Youth's 2012 Leadership Awards
MONTREAL, Oct. 11, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Charles McMillan, Chairman of the Board, and Louis Moubarak, President and CEO (interim), Canada World Youth (CWY), are proud to host the 2012 edition of the CWY Leadership Awards, at ceremonies to be held October 12th in Calgary and October 15th in Ottawa. During a kick-off ceremony held earlier this week in Montreal, the laureates - who hail from Montreal, Benin and Nepal - were each awarded $3,000 towards the advancement of their projects.
The CWY Leadership Awards recognize the achievements of young people from Canada and around the world who are engaged in innovative initiatives that promote peace, intercultural understanding, and community and international development. "These deserving young people - here in Canada and around the world - have demonstrated competency, an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of social engagement that sets an inspiring example for young people all over the world," says jury member Gillian MacCormack, a senior advisor in global communications. "More than 50 outstanding young leaders from 19 countries were nominated this year, which made our decision very difficult."
The laureates and their winning projects
"Receiving the Outstanding Canadian CWY Alumni Award means so much to us," says Tim Murphy and Noémie Desbiens-Riendeau, co-organizers of the Urban-Rural Farm Exchange project launched earlier this year at Montreal's Santropol Roulant. "I
discovered my passion for community organizing during my CWY
Quebec-Benin exchange back in 1998-1999," adds Murphy.
The project addresses the need for more local, sustainable food sources for urban populations, particularly in communities considered "food deserts" due to a lack of access to nutritious, affordable food. In addition to its strong public education component, particularly aimed at youth, this project provides food directly to 40 families and to 15 individuals with reduced autonomy by supplying fresh vegetables to Santropol Roulant's weekly Fresh Basket program. The project also feeds another 150-200 people by supplying Santropol Roulant's meals-on-wheels kitchen and weekly market stand. Santropol Roulant, founded in 1995 and managed by young Montrealers, is itself an award-winning community organization that brings people together across generations and cultures through an innovative approach to meals-on-wheels.
When Beninese journalist Alain Tossounon - winner of the Outstanding Overseas CWY Alumni Award - co-founded Le Réseau des journalistes du Bénin pour l'eau et l'assainissement (RJBEA) in 2007, in Benin, West Africa, over 50% of his country's
population had no access to clean drinking water or proper toilets. The
RJBEA network's 70 militant journalists join forces with other
organizations to lobby local and national authorities, organize
awareness campaigns and publish articles on the issues of access to
clean drinking water and adequate sanitation systems. "Since the
project began," explains Tossounon, "new legislation has been passed
with respect to water management, and other collective efforts have
resulted in 65% of Benin's people now having access to clean drinking
water. This is very encouraging." Tossounon became part of the CWY
family in 2004 when he participated in a Québec-Benin exchange program
and then acted as supervisor for two exchange programs in 2006-2007 and
- This year's winner of the Youth Innovation Award, Subhash Ghimire, founded The Sarswati Peace School in 2008, in his hometown of Arupokhari in Nepal - the first school in that country to address the need for accessible education and educational resources in the aftermath of the 1996-2006 Nepali Civil War. In addition to teaching 250 students, an additional 2,000 community members have access to the school's library, Internet services and other resources. This project united people from different backgrounds and ethnic groups, as well as former rebels and local and national officials, around a common cause. "Our school works to directly impact the lives of youth affected by the war and provide them with the tools and training needed to create a more just and peaceful future for their communities," explains Ghirmire. Ghirmire is also involved in a school for slum and street children in Kathmandu.
Youth Leaders in Action Program
CWY's Youth Leaders in Action program encourages participants to develop leadership, communication and other life skills through volunteering in community-driven projects that have a sustainable impact on those communities and that contribute to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. During an intense six-month program, a group of nine young people from Canada - between the ages of 17 and 29 - team up with nine youth from one of several partner countries to do volunteer work together - three months in a Canadian community and three months in a community in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Youth Leaders in Action is the only Canadian exchange program of its kind.
About CWY www.canadaworldyouth.org
Canada World Youth is dedicated to enriching the lives of people aged 15-35 who want to become informed and active global citizens. CWY offers international educational programs focussed on building knowledge, leadership and other life skills through participation in sustainable community-driven projects, many in developing countries. Over the past 40 years, 35,000 young people and 11,000 host families have participated in CWY programs, in Canada and abroad. CWY is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization (#118973999RR0001).
SOURCE: CANADA WORLD YOUTHFor further information:
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