Thursday, August 30, 2007

Americans for UNFPA Essay Contest Winner- Hope for the Future

Having a young person - Michaela - join our delegation to Malawi had a strong impact on the other delegates, as well as our Malawian hosts. It felt like all around us in Malawi, young women embodied the country's hopes for its future. This was especailly apparent when we visited the Malawi Girl Guides Association. There Michaela interacted with young women whose life situations were not so different from her own - recent college graduates, with aspirations for a future improving their community. Of course, many of these young women faced much greater adversity, having been orphaned, overcome teenage pregnancies, needing to scrounge for school fees. But to be able to introduce them to a young woman from America enabled us to relate more intimately to them than we have been able to in other situations.
Michaela's participation - along with that of 3 other young women and one young man - also invigorated the American delegates. Most of the delegates anticipate a number of years of advocacy and involvement in women's health and rights, but the interest and commitment voiced by this younger generation gave us all hope that, when the time comes, there will be someone to whom we can pass the torch. Maybe that "passing" is already happening! I recall one evening during our debriefing sessions when we got on the topic of Facebook, and Michaela and the other younger delegates tried to explain this new technology to us, assuring us that Americans for UNFPA has an page not to mention, videos on You Tube and photos on Flickr. Michaela's blog post via, the new technology mentioned above, and the energy on the young delegates show the promise of the future.
I hope that the many readers of both Michaela's blog and Marie Claire continue to stay involved with Americans for UNFPA. And for those of you who've caught her travel bug: next year's delegations are as follow: India in January and Uganda in August.
Marcela HahnVice President of Development

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