MRDF celebrates International Youth Day

Next week s UN International Youth Day, on 12thAugust, will focus on Youth in an Intergenerational Society.

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) will use theDay to celebrate the achievements of its partners abroad, who incommunities affected by poverty or AIDS, work with both young andold to make solidarity between generations a reality.

One such partner, the Youth Development Centre (YDC) in SouthWest Cameroon, trains children in sustainable agriculturetechniques. They recognise the potential for young people to act asagents for change in their community.

YDC s agricultural trainer said: We encourage the children toshare the farming techniques with their families, and to take anactive role in village life. We teach them how to make the most ofthe soil and not damage it for future generations.

Another MRDF partner in Cameroon, the McHenry Rural Health Care,provides skills training to the elderly, such as goat-rearing,enabling them to make a living. Children from the local schoolvisit an elder and help them with tasks such as fetching water andwood. 

Mary McCormick, who runs McHenry explained: In Cameroon, thereis a growing interdependence between generations. Many parentsmigrate to the cities for work, or have died of AIDS, leavingchildren in the care of their grandparents. So the only way for usto develop socially and economically is to strengthen the tiesbetween young and old.

Jonathan Kerry, Co-ordinating Secretary for Worship andLearning, said: Its clearly important that the generations learn towork for each other's good.  The Church has tried formany years to promote sharing across the age-groups.  In factwe are one of the few places these days where old and young can gettogether outside the immediate family.