The Namibia Red Cross Society youth programme has been in existence since 2008. Since the inception of the National Society in 1992, youth volunteers have played a key part in assisting the National Society with the implementation of various services and programmes and they are greatly valued and appreciated.
Young people are involved in all the activities of the Nambia Red Cross Society, taking into account relevant age-specific requirements of needed skills and experience, safety and well-being. They are encouraged to be fully involved in coming up with self initiated activities and further income generating activities that sustain them. Their planning, design, delivery and review of the society’s services will be supported fully by their regional branch office if they meet the requirements of the fundimental principals. The Namibia Red Cross Society provides their young volunteers, in particular youth leaders, with the opportunity to build their capacity and participate in decision-making processes at the national and international level.
In July 2011, youth leaders from the Harelbeke branch of the Belgium Red Cross - Flanders, traveled to Namibia to spend one month working with youth volunteers at the Eenhana branch of the Namibia Red Cross Society. The partnership between the Eenhana and Harelbeke Red Cross youth programs will continue this year when four youth volunteers from Eenhana travel to Harelbeke to learn about their youth program, share ideas and gain valuable skills they can bring back to the Namibia Red Cross Society.
The relationship between the Namibia Red Cross Society’s Eenhana branch and the Harelbeke branch of the Belgium Red Cross - Flanders was born from the city link established by the two cities’ town councils in 2007.
Mutual exchanges took place on different subjects with a focus on cooperation between the city councils. The Red Cross, in both Belgium and Namibia, participated in these exchange activities and decided the partnership was a great way to promote international understanding between the two communities.
Both societies have decided to continue the partnership. We focus on exchange opportunities between our two youth programs that allow volunteers to share skills, learn new ways of conducting youth activities and programs, develop their leadership ability and ultimately further develop the youth outreach of both societies.
On Saturday 28 July, four youth volunteers from the Namibia Red Cross Society’s Eenhana branch packed their umbrellas, said goodbye to Namibia’s blue skies and boarded a flight for Belgium!
Maria Ndeilenga, Lukas Shuudifonya, Paulus Ndeikoyele and Setson Shipanga headed to the Belgian town of Harelbeke, where they will spend one month working with the Harelbeke Youth Red Cross.
The exchange is a wonderful opportunity for these Namibian youth to promote international understanding between the two communities and to support the further development of the Namibia Red Cross Society’s Youth Program.
While in Belgium, the group will visit, learn about and contribute to Harelbeke’s various youth activities, including programs on children’s rights, emergency services and first aid. A major part of the visit will be helping to prepare for and participating in a youth camp.
The group will certainly gain a lot of new skills and we look forward to all the great ideas they will bring back with them for developing our own youth program.
You can download the full program of their visit here.
Lukas joined the Namibia Red Cross Society in 2011. He says he joined because he “likes helping children and other vulnerable members of the community”.
This will be the first time Lukas has been outside Namibia. He says, “It is my honor and privilege to be part of the delegation going to Belgium this year. I feel very proud to be representing the youth out of Africa.”
Maria has been a youth volunteer with the Namibia Red Cross Society for 1 year and 6 months. Maria has always wante
d to be a doctor and says she joined the Red Cross to “gain experience dealing with vulnerable people and to learn how to help people in different ways, like providing food and medication.”
Maria is excited to be traveling outside of Namibia for the first time, she says, “you have to ask yourself, how will I cope in a new place? Will I get sick? But we are looking forward to all the new experiences we will have!”
Maria says, “I am honored to be part of this trip and excited to see my new friends again on the other side of the world.”
Paulus joined the Namibia Red Cross Society in 2009. His favorite part of being a volunteer is “giving information to the community, participating in training courses and gaining new skills and knowledge.”
Paulus has never traveled overseas before and he says, “This kind of trip comes once in a lifetime!”
Paulus says, “As a Red Cross volunteer, my first priority on this visit is to learn about youth activities, culture and leadership in Belgium and to transform those practices into things we can do the Namibian way.”
Setson started with the Namibia Red Cross Society as one of the founding members of the youth volunteer program in 2007. He was inspired by his parents to join the Namibia Red Cross Society, as they were already volunteers.
Setson says, “This is a very nice project between the two countries of Namibia and Belgium. It is a good platform for us youth to learn from one another and share skills from our cultural backgrounds.”
See our photo gallery for more photos of the youth volunteers.
To stay up to date with everything the Eenhana youth volunteers are doing in Belgium, you can: