Report: Youths honored for giving to their communities

By (Dara Elasfar)

Maryland teen makes the top 10 list at national award that recognizes volunteers.

Ten kids received national honors Monday for their community service efforts, earning the top prizes at Prudential’s annual Spirit of Community Awards.

Caleb Oh, 14, from Gambrills, Maryland, earned a spot on the top 10 list by spending more than 1,000 hours volunteering, much of it to help people who are homeless.

When he first looked to help out, he said he had trouble finding opportunities.

“There was a fixed mind-set that kids could not help,” Caleb, an eighth-grader at Crofton Middle School, wrote on his application. “Most places require you to be at least 18 to volunteer.”

Caleb launched his own initiative, called “Kid Changemakers.” He recruited kids from his neighborhoods to bag lunches and conduct food drives for their local homeless shelter. Throughout the school year, e clipped coupons for military families and collected toiletries and baby supplies for a local woman’s shelter. Caleb estimated he has collected around $60,000 dollars in grants and donations to support those in need.

“We’re impressed and inspired by the way these honorees have identified problems facing their communities and stepped up to the challenge to make a difference,” Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, said in a statement. “It’s a privilege to celebrate their leadership and compassion, and we look forward to seeing the great things they accomplish in the future.”

National honorees receive an award of $5,000, an engraved gold medal, a trophy for their school and a $5,000 grant from the Prudential Foundation for the charity of their choice.

Caleb was chosen from 102 kids recognized at the state level. Alexia Ayuk, 17, of Gaithersburg was the other honoree from Maryland. Shayla Young, 13, of Springfield and Justin Hu, 16, of Vienna were recognized from Virginia. Washington residents Skylar Thomas, 17, and Feven Tadele, 13, were also recognized. State honorees received $1,000 at a ceremony Sunday at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Skylar, a senior at Ballou Senior High School, worked as a summer youth camp counselor and tutor to help children from low-income neighborhoods. Feven, a seventh-grader at St. Augustine Catholic School, is a dedicated volunteer who provides food for the homeless, teaches Sunday school at her church and travels to Ethiopia to teach English.

“Every time I teach a student, I believe that I am helping prepare that child for the real world and helping them to become great citizens and a great asset to their community,” she wrote.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to recognize young people who devote their time to community service and inspiring others to do the same.

Education: Dubai Cares and Deyaar partner to build community school in Malawi

By (Gavin David)

Dubai Cares and Deyaar, a Dubai-based property developer, have announced a partnership to improve access to education for children in the south-eastern African country of Malawi.

According to a report by WAM, the two sides signed an agreement that will see the developer work with Dubai Cares to build a community-based school in Malawi. Construction on the project is set to start in 2020, it added.

Deyaar has previously collaborated with Dubai Cares to build schools in Nepal and Senegal.

“We may be a UAE company, but we believe that our responsibility to do good and give back extends beyond the borders of our country,” said Saeed Al Qatami, CEO of Deyaar.

“Dubai Cares has provided us with several opportunities in recent years to make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of families in communities in need of support, and we are honoured to be able to make a positive impact on a Malawian community through this new project.”

As a UAE-based philanthropic organisation, Dubai Cares has played a key role in helping to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning by 2030, by supporting programs in early childhood development, access to quality primary and secondary education and vocational education and training for youths.

To date, the organisation has supported education programs in Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros Islands, Colombia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe

“We are excited to once again have Deyaar supporting our Adopt a School initiative. The ability to contribute towards changing children and young people’s lives requires collaborative efforts from across the community, and that is why we value the support of companies in the UAE, with Deyaar being one of the most prominent examples,” said Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares.

“I am also confident that this opportunity will offer Deyaar’s volunteers a unique insight into our programs in developing countries and the chance to leave a positive and meaningful impact on underprivileged communities,” he added.

Earlier this month, Deyaar announced its financial results for Q1 2019, ended March 31, 2019. It reported revenues of $47.8 million and a net profit of $4.98 million.

In a statement at the time, Deyaar said that the Q1 2019 revenues were consistent with Q1 2018, which was $48 million. Deyaar’s project pipeline includes several handovers in 2019.

Nigerian Wendy Okolo, first black woman to obtain PhD in Aerospace engineering who works at NASA, wins big award in U.S.

By Amos Fofung

Nigerian-born Dr. Wendy Okolo is 2019 most promising engineer in the United States government.

She was crowned winner of Black Engineer of the Year Awards, BEYA, for her accomplishments in the domain of aerospace engineering.

Dr. Wendy Okolo is the first ever black woman to earn a doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering when she was just 26 years old.

She currently works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, and is the special emphasis programs manager at Ames Research Center and also a research engineer in the Discovery and Systems Health Technology (DaSH) Area.

According to The Cabel, Okolo talked about her experience piloting the world’s fastest manned aircraft which flies from coast to coast in 67 minutes.

“I was like I’m sure, these guys are so smart, what am I going to bring to the table. I was given an assignment to correct an error in a code system which I did and that momentarily ended the impostor syndrome.”

A research engineer with NASA since 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile, the 30-year-old who already has some 13 publications in aircraft engineering and expresses herself in 4 different languages is poised to scale more ladders as she continues to break grounds inspiring not just black women but Africa as a whole.

Source Today News Africa

World News / USA: Youth solitary confinement continues despite ongoing criticism

By Talia Kirkland

Marcus Muray was 17 when he found himself in isolation after an altercation during a riot at a juvenile detention center he was being held in.

He was transferred to an adult jail, stripped of his clothing, and placed in solitary confinement for 72 hours. In order to keep him from adults, he was kept in a small cell, away from all other inmates.

The now 21-year-old Philadelphia native said that moment still haunts him.

“I was in a cell all day, three meals, one 10-minute phone call and that was it,” he said.

Muray, who spent most of his childhood bouncing from one foster home to the next, recalled how nothing compared to the hopelessness he felt at the time.

“It just felt like it never ended like this is where I am going to be forever,” said Muray who went on to express, “You shouldn’t treat humans the way I was treated.”

President Trump signed a sweeping, bipartisan criminal justice bill, which included an Obama-era executive order banning solitary confinement in federal prisons. But for the most vulnerable population, juveniles, the practice continues at many state and county correctional facilities.


Jessica Feierman, a lawyer and youth advocate at the Juvenile Law Center, called the practice “unregulated, inhumane, and torture.”

“The courts have stated that this is harmful, cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment and violates the 14th amendment,” said Feierman who hopes states will follow the lead of the federal government, “we want to ensure through court action that every state eliminates solitary confinement.”

Jails hold youth in solitary confinement to keep them away from the general population.

But advocates say rather than protecting them, the facilities are doing more harm than good.

A study from Center shows the American criminal justice system adopted the use of solitary confinement in the mid-1800s as a means to “inspire true regret in the hearts of convicts.”

And almost immediately jails and prisons that had adopted the practice began reporting widespread mental health consequences. And in 1890, the United States Supreme Court granted relief to a death row inmate subjected to solitary confinement, citing studies showing that prisoners exposed to isolation, even for a short time, often fell into “a semi-fatuous condition,” “became violently insane,” or committed suicide.

Which leaves Feierman wondering how, then, are so many young people like Marcus subjected to this treatment at the state and local level.

“The biggest issue we’ve been hearing about is young people being held in adult facilities and being held in solitary confinement,” Feierman said.

Currently, state and local facilities permit certain teenagers or children to be incarcerated at adult correctional facilities at the state or county level. In extreme cases, like homicides, youths, as young as 11 or 10 years old, can be detained.


Many medical experts agree with Feierman’s concerns and support advocates, urging lawmakers to take into consideration the dangerous mental health impact confinement at extended periods of time can cause in children and adolescences.

“If you place any person, but especially a teenager or a child in isolation, and deprive them of meaningful human interactions it can have long-lasting effects on their mental development and health,” said Dr. Aneela Khan, a physiatrist at Drexel University.

According to Khan, teenagers can experience post-traumatic stress, confusion, poor concentration, paranoia feelings of hopelessness, demoralization, and despair.

“Teenagers may look big but their brain is still underdeveloped,” said Khan, “ We should be attending to their mental help needs along with attending to their educational needs.”

Just about every state is looking at ways to limit the use of solitary confinement, said Dr. Khan, but noted many detention centers and state correctional facilities have cited low funding and staff resources as to why the use the practice “to protect” or “separate” underage inmates from the adult population.

In the past decade, Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas have passed legislation that either drastically restricts solitary confinement in state prisons, or orders a comprehensive study on potential reforms, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In addition to California and New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia have passed laws that ban or limit solitary confinement for juveniles.

Feierman says this is a step in the right direction. But it’s one that didn’t come soon enough for Marcus, who still struggles with emotional and mental scars.

“I’m always thinking about ever getting in trouble again or ever going back again,” he said, “it’s just like a constant nightmare.”

Source Foxnews

World News / Pakistan: Peshawar to have female youth centre

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved an exclusive female youth centre to be established in Hayatabad for outdoor and indoor recreational activities.

Minister for tourism, youth affairs, sports and culture Mohammad Atif Khan approved the centre at a meeting with KP Youth Development Commission.

The centre would be providing space to women to take part in healthy and fun activities .They would exclusively enjoy facilities like gym, yoga, a modern theatre, a rooftop café, children play area, table and board games and virtual e-games, according to a statement issued here on Tuesday.

The government has approved about Rs42 million for the project.

The Youth Development Commission is a think-tank established by the PTI government in its previous tenure to encourage youth to take part in different productive activities.

The meeting also discussed holding a wheel-chair race for the special persons and archery competitions in the upcoming youth carnival.

Source DAWN

NRM youth protest against UK Parliament discussion on Uganda’s democracy, three arrested


A section of youth claiming to be National Resistance Movement supporters have taken to Kamwokya streets to protest the decision by the United Kingdom Parliament to discuss the democracy of Uganda.

The youths who donned yellow NRM shirts held placards and other written material reading, “Back off Dr William. You are not a Ugandan”. The youth threw stones and matched to the British High Commission Offices in Kamwokya, Kampala saying they do not want the discussion to continue.

Police swung into action and cooled the commotion that was already disrupting the traffic and arrested three of the members.

Mr Luke Owoyesigire, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the three are being held at Kira Road Police station on charges of inciting violence.

“We are yet to take statements from them to know what they were exactly doing but we shall hold them until they tell us what the matter is,” Mr Owoyesigire said.

The UK minister of State for Africa, Mr Harriett Baldwin, on Tuesday evening said adherence to democracy, democratic processes such as rule of law and strong institutions are at the core of their development agenda in Uganda, and they continue to engage government on the matter.

The minister for International Cooperation, Mr Okello Oryem, in response to the allegations said he has no apologies to the UK government.

He said after 30 years of stability and prosperity, the agenda to destabilise is back on course.

“It is funny at this particular moment when chaos and turmoil engulf the Democratic Republic of Congo, commotion in South Sudan, a coup attempt in Gabon and Bashir struggling in Sudan, then Williams chooses Uganda,” Mr Oryem said.

Source Daily Monitor

Youths haven’t failed unless given opportunities – Ibe

As Africa advocates 30% of decision-making positions for youths.

Eminent personalities in the academia, judiciary and the Church have pull their weight behind Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe calling on governments to give our youth opportunities in decision making adding that no youth could be a failure if opportunities are not given them.

Vice Chancellor, Caleb University, Professor Ayandiji Aina; Professor Patricia Donli; Dr. Hussaini Abdu; Odein Ajumogobia, SAN; Archbishop A.A Madu and Emmanuel Afam Ugwu Ph.D spoke in one voice in Lagos during the official presentation of Beyond Rhetoric: Youth Empowerment and Political voice in Nigeria at the Civic Centre.

Speaking at the ocassion, the chief host and Founder/Chairman, Board of Baywood Foundation, Emperior Chris Baywood Ibe said ”Unless youths are given opportunities, you cannot say they have failed. Unless we make the youth part of decision making, we are sitting on a keg of gun powder” adding ”The proposed affirmative action at the African Union level advocates the reservation of up to 30% of decision-making positions in all offices – particularly in governments for the youth”.

Ibe who noted that the book was his contribution to humanity, urged everyone to search and discover reasons they exist. He said, if you have not yet found out the reason you exist, you cannot be successful.”The reason I am on earth is to put smiles on peoples face, especially the youth. Therefore, I dedicate the book to every youth, my children and your children”’, he said.

He added: ”The book is a legacy. Life is not all about making money or achieving resounding success. It’s what you dream of, think of and worked for. Who will speak for these youths? Unless youths are given opportunities, you cannot say they have failed. Unless we make the youth part of decision making, then we are sitting on a keg of gun powder”

Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere said the book is about righting the wrong, noting that rhetorics is about doing something different . He explained that the book covers a wide spectrum of ideas adding ”it is a deliberate policy to engage the youths for the political progress of the nation”.Emphasising on affirmative action, he noted that the only way out is for the youths to grab power. ”Dont just sit down, because those who have the money and power will never give up. Youths should take advantage of the opportunity and change Nigeria”, he added.

He alluded to the President of France who has been in politics since he was in the university stressing rather than talk about affirmative action, it should be complemented with direct action.On his part, the keynote speaker and Country Director Plan International, Abuja, Dr. Abdul Hussaini said he has been involved in youth issues in the last 10years adding that issues concernimg them have been key conversation globally.”Africa’s greatest strength are its youths and with them it can surmount the challenges ahead” He lamented the marginalisation and misconception of our youths, stressing that our youths are neither lazy nor criminal but only denied of their rights.”Political parties have failed to give youths the platform to make progress”, he concluded.

Source – Vanguard

World News: Youth have to become more innovative to resolve urban problems in Bangladesh

By Rafikul Islam

Speaking at a program, experts from various fields have urged the youth of the country to become more innovative in order to resolve problems in the country’s urban centres.

“Bangladesh is one of those countries most vulnerable to climate change,as well as one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. It is also one of the world’s most densely populated countries,so the only way to improve the state of the country is to create new ideas and become entrepreneurs in order to develop urban areas,” they also said.

The experts made these statements while distributing prizes among winners who came up with innovative ways to solve urban problems – such as healthcare, housing, and energy – in the “Urban Innovation Challenge” program held at the Brac Inn in Dhaka on Tuesday. Brac organized the program, and promoted it with the slogan “We must solve our cities’ problems.” Dhaka Tribune was one of the media partners of the event.

Of the teams, Nirvana and City Bird won a joint award for the renewable energy category, Jotno Healthcare won the healthcare category, Anusongo topped the low cost urban housing category, and Drinkwell aced the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene category. Team Responsive Urbanist received a special prize.

Prizes were distributed by chief guest Dr Md Atiqur Rahman,additional secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry; Dr Ainun Nishat, former vice chancellor of BRAC University, andDr Adil Mohammed Khan,general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, among others.

Dr Atiqur Rahman said: “The youth must present the problems they face and come up with ideas to eliminate them through such competitions. Such competitions will facilitate the resolving of problems, and the talent of the youth will come to light.”

“Don’t become frustrated about government jobs. Become entrepreneurs and begin to develop the country and its cities. The government has also taken some initiatives to receive new ideas from the youth,” he also said.

Dr Ainun Nishat said: “Innovation must help society flourish,as there is no alternative to it. We have to think about how to bring a balance in the prices of goods in towns and villages. We should innovate to ease the supply chain.”

Asif Saleh, senior director of strategy, communications, and empowerment for BRAC said: “Partnerships are needed in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Brac is giving importance to the issue. The most important thing is to understand problems easily. Moreover, a business plan is needed, and participants should be dynamic about it.”

However, Brac would like to utilize the innovative power of meritorious youths to solve the problems faced by urban areas of the country.

On 24 July, Brac’s Urban Innovation Challenge began for the second time. Thirteen ideas were selected from around 300.

Brac will donate upto Tk5 lakh to every winning team, who in turn will get a chance to implement their solution projects within six months.

Source – DhakaTribune

World News: Pope Francis to Panama for World Youth Day

By Mario Schiavone

Pope Francis issued a video message addressed to all youths in preparation for the World Youth Day which will be held in Panama next Janurary. The theme of this year is based on Mary’s answer to God’s call: ‘I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”.

In his message the Pope said that “Her words are a brave and generous “yes”. It is the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation ‒ to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others. Our lives only find meaning in service to God and to other people.

“There are many young people, both believers, and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering. This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess. It is a strength that can change the world. It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the “revolution” of service.

“To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded. It is by relating to God in the silence of our hearts that we discover our identity and the vocation to which God is calling us. It can be expressed in different ways: in marriage, in consecrated life, in the priesthood… All these are ways of following Jesus. The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say “yes”.

“Mary was a happy woman, and this is because she replied generously to God and opened her heart to God’s plan for her. When God has a proposition for us, like the one he had for Mary, it is not intended to extinguish our dreams, but to ignite our aspirations. Propositions like this are meant to make our lives fruitful and produce many smiles and happy hearts. To respond to God positively is to take a first step towards being happy and towards making many people happy.

“Dear young people, take courage, enter within yourselves and say to God: “What do you want from me?” Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.

“With the upcoming World Youth Day in our sights, I invite you all to prepare for it by following and taking part in the initiatives that are happening. They will help you on your path towards this goal. May Our Lady be with you on this pilgrimage, and may her example encourage you to be brave and generous in your response.

In the meantime the Vatican published the programme of the Pontiff’s visit to Panama.

Wednesday 23th, from Rome, Pope Francis will arrive at Panama’s Tocumen International airport. Following an official welcome, he will travel to the Nunciature.

Thursday 24th there will be a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace followed by a meeting with state authorities and the diplomatic corps. Later in the day, the Pope will meet with the Bishops of Central America in the Church of St Francis of Assisi before opening World Youth Day at Cinta Costera.

Friday 25th Pope Francis will visit a youth center where there will be a penance service. In the afternoon he will attend a Youth Way of the Cross at the Cinta Costera area of Panama City.

Saturday 26th The Pope will preside over Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua where he will consecrate the altar of the Cathedral which has been newly restored. Following Mass, Pope Francis will lunch with young people. Later in the evening, he will participate at a vigil with young people at Metro Park.

Sunday 27th On this, the final day of his visit to Panama, the Pope will celebrate the concluding Mass of WYD at Metro Park. After the Eucharistic celebration, he will visit the house of the Good Samaritan followed by a meeting with WYD volunteers. Pope Francis will return to Rome that evening following a farewell ceremony at Panama International Airport.

Source – Newsbook