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UN Youth Delegates Experience International Development In Action

What is the best way to learn about the United Nations and the life of an international aid worker? As ten teenagers recently discovered, by downing the textbooks and immersing themselves in a developing country.

Destination Dreaming led the annual United Nations Youth Australia Pacific Project for the fourth consecutive year in July, facilitating a program for 10 teenagers selected from schools across Australia. The youth delegates travelled to Timor Leste to learn about our close neighbour and see development in action.

The program was designed to provide the young people with a deep insight into community-driven development, which included:

  • Morning tea with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and observing the national elections;
  • Meeting with AusAid and the Alola Foundation established by Australian woman Kirsty Sword Gusmao;
  • Living at the Encouragement House, a highland boarding house for rural Timorese students;
  • Hearing from members of the UN Police about working in East Timor; and
  • Funding an art project for students in remote Timor.

Reflecting on the Project, Jessica said “this has been truly invaluable. The relationships I’ve established in communities that accepted and welcomed us wholeheartedly have been life-changing and enabled me to believe in myself and my dreams. I have learned that community is the most attainable and important aspect of life. Whilst national development is at times an overwhelming concept, the starting block will always be building relationships.”

Jordan said the Project “allowed me to see development on a national scale. It changed me as a person…it provided a body of knowledge and experiences that I can draw on for the rest of my life, and connected me with a network of like-minded people who have become life-long friends.”

The delegation formed the third consecutive Pacific Project to Timor Leste, continuing the relationship United Nations Youth Australia and Destination Dreaming have built with the Encouragement House and Timorese community. Click here to see some photos from the Pacific Project.

We also met some fantastic community organisations that would love to form a partnership with an Australian community, so please send us an email or call (03) 5255 5830 to hear about opportunities for your school or organisation.

United Nations Youth Australia 2011

United Nations Youth Australia delegates recently returned from an amazing trip to Timor Leste, brushing shoulders with President Ramos Horta and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, and supporting the Encouragement House in Maliana.

13 travellers had the trip of a lifetime last month, the first of a series of visits planned to the Encouragement House, to provide financial support to the rural boarding house. Destination Dreaming donated a percentage of the group’s program cost to construct an outdoor shelter at the Encouragement House, which was built by local builders during the visit to Maliana.

Highlights for the group included evening soccer matches with the local students, bathing in the river and group singing sessions at the Encouragement House. Asher Kosma (17 years old) said, ‘my trip to Timor Leste was absolutely amazing. We were the first Australian students ever to visit one of the rural school and lived like locals for 6 days… This Destination Dreaming trip changed the way I view the world and I would be genuinely surprised if it didn’t for anyone who undertakes it.’

Grant Duthie (17 years old) commented that ‘our ability to make a difference on this trip made it stand apart from other travel experiences. Making a positive impact and discovering culture that is so fulfilled and content with so little…

Photos from the program are available via this link on Facebook.

Destination Dreaming will run the next Pacific Project for UN Youth Australia delegates in July 2012. Next year’s program will be extended to three weeks. Interested students should contact the Pacific Project Director at UN Youth Australia.

[box_half]Boys fooling about at the river in Timor Leste[/box_half][box_half class=”last”][/box_half]

Destination Dreaming’s Program Manager Kate Miller’s adventure in Maasailand, Kenya

Kate has returned from a trip leading the UNESCO Observatory Maasai Cultural Village Project for OzQuest.

The project team spent two weeks alongside the Maasai Community Concern and Networking organisation (MACCONET) in the Rift Valley, led by Kate, MACCONET Director Emmanuel Parsimei and UNESCO Observatory Director Lindy Joubert. The team spent time engaging in Maasai culture, including attending church, a goat slaughter, a performance by the dance group and shopping at the local market.
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Dreaming Project (Fiji) Progress Report and Vinaka Vaka Levu for 2010 fundraising achievement of $16,000!

Destination Dreaming Program Coordinator, Clint Miller, has returned from our final visit to Fiji for 2010. He provides a Dreaming Project progress report…

“Another amazing and successful trip to Fiji. It was certainly a different experience travelling solo- my final trip for 2010 was the first time in years that I have travelled to Fiji without an expedition or project team.

The past 8 days provided a fantastic opportunity to develop further project opportunities and consolidate progress to date. Not to mention a quiet surf at Cloudbreak one morning!
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Program Manager Kate Miller leads UNESCO Program in Kenya

Destination Dreaming Program Manager, Kate Miller, left today for two weeks in Kenya, leading a project team from UNESCO Observatory at the University of Melbourne

Kate is working with UNESCO Observatory Director Lindy Joubert, and project leader Emmanuel Parsimei, Director of the Maasai Community Concern and Networking organisation, on a Maasai Cultural Village project in the Rift Valley.

The project team, comprising a professional architect, marketing expert and engineering, law and economics students, is conducting an initial design and investigation for a cultural village to preserve the crafts, heritage and skills unique to the Maasai people. The project aims to promote the exchange of knowledge and build and nurture an active role for community members to preserve and promote their cultural skills.
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