Youth Awards mark ‘a great day for young people’
2019-01-01 12:13:23 -
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By Juliette Chantitch

 

The Richmond Education and Event Centre in Dublin’s Smithfield district recently hosted the Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s (Sifi) 2018 Youth Awards to recognise the most innovative education and mental health-related projects from across the country.

Centred on the theme of #EmpoweringYouth, the event on Monday 10 December was organised by the Sifi organisation with support from the Dormants Accounts Fund and the Department of Rural and Community Development, and saw six awards presented for youth education and nine for youth mental health.

The day also featured a number of speeches as well as musical performances from the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Limerick-based youth music initiative Sing Out With Strings.

During her speech, Deidre Mortell, chief executive of SIFI, said the organisation will be investing €10m into youth mental health and education over the next three years.

“We are all here today because we know that young people face challenges. I do have hope because young people are showing us that they can do it, and that they will do it,” she said.

Also speaking was Farouq Raheem, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, final year student at DIT and youth representative from Foróige, the national youth organisation.

He explained that Foróige’s Leadership for Life programme, in which he takes part, “enables young people to develop crucial knowledge, confidence, and a suite of 21st-century skills to prepare them for a future in the new, changing economy.”

“The programme truly made me how I am today, and if it wasn’t for the programme, I wouldn’t have the courage to stand here.”

The young ambassador talked about his personal journey, and how thanks to Foróige, he could acquire the leadership skills to get through rough times.

“We can all be great leaders, in our own lives, in our own way,” he said.

Raheem concluded by reminding the audience of the importance of investing in youth education.

“It’s very important that we never give up on young people,” he said. “It’s a great day for young people, it’s a great day for Ireland.”

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