12 Cebu youth leaders explore Europe
CEBU CITY, July 3 -- Twelve youth delegates and three adult leaders from Cebu were sent to an exchange visit in the cities of Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands and Kortrijk in Belgium through the program Young Minds on Xplore (YMX) Season 3 of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) from April 14 to May 6 this year.
In a press statement, RAFI's communication team writer Hanna Aranas said, the program was in partnership with Vereniging Haarlemmermeer Cebu (VHC), the Meerlanden Youth Cebu and the City of Kortrijk.
"This cultural exchange is part of the sister-city relationship between Cebu City and the cities of Haarlemmermeer and Kortrijk," Aranas wrote.
According to Aranas, Young Minds on Xplore (YMX) Season 3 aims to provide an avenue for better understanding and appreciation of Cebuano and European cultures and for cultivating a deeper sense of nationalism among the participants.
For three weeks, the delegates stayed with their Dutch and Belgian host families to better understand their culture and also visited various institutions, organizations and heritage sites.
To better appreciate European culture and understand best practices and systems in Europe, they also visited the Hague, which is the Netherland's seat of government, and the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
In Belgium, Kortrijk Deputy Mayor Alain Cnudde welcomed the delegates and conducted a brief discussion of the sister-city relationship between Cebu City and Kortrijk.
They visited institutions and organizations such as St. Michiels Church, NOC and the Youth Movement, Oxfam Wereldwinkel Fair Trade, Haaberkrats, AZ Groeninge Hospital, Groep Ubuntu and Acht Kanter.
The delegates were able to attend the Sunday Lowland Games organized by the City of Kortrijk in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
In the Netherlands, a council session in the City of Haarlemmermeer was held, where the mayor welcomed the delegates.
They went to the Meerlanden Sanitary Landfill, NEVISO-Roots for Development, the Cruquiushoeue Stable Center, Spaarne Hospital and various educational institutions.
The delegates toured around the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam and the Jewish Historical Museum and took part in the Dutch national holiday in celebration of Queen Beatrix's birthday.
Throughout the program, the delegates were provided opportunities to meet various groups, institutions and organizations that are in line with social welfare, youth development, culture and heritage, health and education and learned through observation the best practices of these groups.
Upon arriving in Cebu, the delegates started working on projects that support the "I Am A Hero" and Mega Cebu Project of RAFI.
They also held talks and discussions of what they have learned in Europe to SK officials, public school teachers and students and other student organizations. They are also planning to put up a youth center.
For more information about YMA, please contact 418-7234 loc. 110 and look for Mel, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph. (MBCN/HFG/RAFI-PIA7)
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