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“Canadian youth work for sustainable development”
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“Canadian youth work for sustainable development”

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Dilshan Jayasinghe picSustainable development can start at the local level and yet have a global impact, writes Dilshan Jayasinghe, 18, a Correspondent from Mississauga, Canada, who writes about his involvement in youth-driven international projects.

Sustainable development and environmental stewardship in any society would not take place unless the populace has a keen understanding as to why such is important.

The International Youth Council is an organisation, founded at the Youth Assembly at the United Nations in 2007, that seeks to unite, inspire, and develop the next generation of world leaders.

We at theMississauga Chapter of the International Youth Council Chapter try to meet these expectations.

We believe education and knowledge play a fundamental component in this regard. Therefore, we have been concentrating on key components that would facilitate education and knowledge, which in turn leads to self-empowerment.  We have focused on items such reuse of personal computers, text books, and eye glasses in the local and international arena with reputable non-profit organizations.  We believe these resources, which have already been produced, should have their useful life extended wherever and whenever possible.

Providing the components mentioned above to those who otherwise would not have access to them starts the journey of self-empowerment for the vulnerable in our global society.  This empowerment has a cascading effect in the community that enriches the process towards sustainable development and environmental stewardship.  We believe this application has relevance in any community throughout the world.

Once engagement and sustenance has taken hold at the local level, the cascading effect of success towards national and international endeavour can be undertaken in a measured approach.  With a local community of interested parties that included non-profit organizations, schools and individuals, we gathered around the common theme of the needs described above.

At the local level, we sent used school text books to a non-profit that helps the Aboriginal community schools in Ontario.  Other used text books went to a non-profit that helps new immigrants to Canada who want to be re-accredited in their chosen profession, while yet more went to the benefit of a non-profit that helps children with disabilities.

In a national and international capacity, one initiative was in conjunction with Lions International, a service club, to collect used eye glasses through local schools and the community.  The collected used eye glasses were sent to Calgary, Canada, for evaluation and categorization.  From there, any international non-profit that caters to the visually challenged can approach Lions International for the needed eye glasses.

kids 2Another international initiative was sending used school text books and personal computers to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.  The impact of these initiatives was meaningful as most school kids and youth receiving the times were in need. The learning and life skills that would be gleaned from the material sent would have a cascading effect.

Members of the International Youth Council had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, in New York, USA.  We advised him of our outreach to Sri Lanka and of our commitment towards the Millennium Development Goals.  We also provided input towards a book titled ‘Green My Parents’ published in the USA, which is geared towards the environment from a youth perspective.  We helped make the book available in our local community through the Mississauga Library System as another tool that will facilitate achieving Millennium Development Goals.

You can learn more about the International Youth Council’s Mississauga Chapter at http://internationalyouthcouncil.com/group/mississauga

Photos: Courtesy of Dilshan Jayasinghe

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About me: I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.  I currently attend John Cabot Catholic Secondary School. I hope to attend the University of Guelph Humber, Toronto, Ontario, Canada in September 2015 with the aim of being an Accountant as my career.

I am the Program Officer of the International Youth Council, Mississauga Chapter.  During my spare time I am very involved in community activities, be it local or global.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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