Breathing the clean air, good food and new friends …. JCV camp (Youth Camp) story

Breathing the clean air, good food and new friends …. JCV camp (Youth Camp) story

It was a beautiful morning. We are heading west, winding out way along the coastline; the wind was blowing lightly as we bumped along. We were travelling for about an hour. When we went up a steep mountain road, and finally we found it – the campsite situated in Nartutu Kaikado Aldeia (hamlet) Mau-Meta Suku (Village), Bazartete, Liquica Municipality.

 I am a Japanese Volunteer working at CVTL, and I came to find out about the Red Cross Youth Camp called “JCV Camp” (Juventude Cruz Vermelha). The campsite was big and surrounded by trees; you could feel the sea breeze, even though we are in the mountains. There were young people everywhere – I felt good to be here. So, let’s ask one of the participants how they feel about being here …

Celina Soares de Fatima, participant of JCV camp

Hello, Welcome to JCV camp! My name is Celina Soares de Fatima, and I am a participant of JCV camp. My time here has been brilliant. It is so comfortable here; the wind from the sea is so fresh, breathing the clean air makes me feel relaxed; good food and new friends make me feel great. I am super happy to join this camp because I have made new friends and we can share our experience together.

I am learning so much from this camp; especially increasing my knowledge related to volunteering and humanitarian work. I found also learnt the way to conserve clean water safely! I want to help people in my community with the volunteer spirit which I learnt from the seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The tents for the overnight stay at the JCV camp

At the camp, I heard about child protection, and reproductive health which is new to me. I think there are still many people who do not know the correct information about it (even in my community) but information is important for everyone because the most vulnerable people are women and children. By building on our knowledge, there are many things which can save lives or make a better life such as hygiene and our surrounding environment; I hope I can share knowledge to my community.

Listening to her story, this camp sounds such a valuable experience and also it gives the youth of Timor-Leste such wonderful opportunities. So how does such a good opportunity for the youth happen? How was it prepared and implemented and by who? To know this, I had a chance to talk to one of the CVTL Youth Leaders.

Damião dos Santos Mendes, Youth Leader of CVTL Liquica Branch.

Hi, I am Damião dos Santos Mendes, Youth Leader of CVTL Liquica Branch. Have you ever heard about a “Youth Leader”? Each CVTL Branch has a volunteer Youth Leader who coordinates and helps implement the activities for the youth in the community, schools, youth centres and any other places that have youth activities. I also helped to coordinate this JCV camp. In the JCV camp, we prepare many activities, separating “physical activities” and “non-physical activities”.

Physical activities include things like cleaning up rubbish and setting up the water supply for the camp. Participants also learn how to make fences to protect the tank and prevent animals from destroying it.

Physical activity – setting up a clean water supply for the camp

Non-physical activities include socialization about issues such as child protection, sexual reproductive health and other important youth health issues. This is all part of the JCV learning modules and using flipcharts, posters and information brochures. We also disseminate information about CVTL, explaining the history of Red Cross, our mission including the seven Fundamental Principles and the history of CVTL and our activities.

Non-physical activity (Dissemination of the seven Fundamental Principles)

I believe that through activities like this camp, the youth can contribute especially humanitarian work. For example, through rubbish cleanup – they should get into the habit to do it every day, which gives them a healthier environment to live in. Also, learning about child protection and the important role Red Cross and Red Crescent societies like CVTL have during conflict and natural disasters. By accomplishing a goal by working together is an important lesson for life – and hopefully that’s will be a learning from this camp. I strongly believe that these activities will lead to something they youth can implement to their community creating good.

While I was interviewing some of the participants, lunch was being prepared for the 43 participants (female – 32, male – 9) all between 12-19 years old.  Today’s menu is grilled fish, pickles, vegetable soup, red beans and rice. There is a woman who was serving soup. Let’s hear her story!

Angela dos Santos Marques; Youth Board for the Liquica Branch of CVTL

I am Angela dos Santos Marques; I am on the Youth Board for the Liquica Branch of CVTL. The Youth Board is made up of a number of youth representatives selected through our Branch General Assembly, every two years. Our mandate is to make discuss issues and look at the situation of the youth and find solutions to problems as well as monitoring activities. As a member of the Youth Board, I wanted to help manage the youth JCV camp. I think it is really important for the youth participants to get to know each other, share their experiences they have, and also get opportunity to learn humanitarian work through the JCV camp. JCV camp is a joint activity with participants from schools in Liquica and other organizations such as NGO to spend time together with get to know each other. Actually, we have had this camp before – but had to stop in 2016 because we wanted to refocus the whole camp; so, we revised, had some good discussions and shared new ideas. From this, well here we are – we have succeeded to hold it finally!

Through observing JCV camp, I am happy to know that other Youth Camps are happening again in Timor-Leste. It is such an important (and enjoyable way) for the youth to learn many things which is not always taught in school.  CVTL has a good reputation throughout the country and we know it is another way to give our youth a future. Thank Mana Angela for delicious lunch with telling brilliant your ideas.

 Sadly, it is time to head back to Dili. My short time here, I’ve learnt the importance of the JCV camp and how it gives the participants a precious experience. I strongly believe that they bring this experience and knowledge to their community to help people and increase their quality of life. Next time, I would be happy if I also can have experience for overnight with them in a tent! #End. By YURIKA – JICA Volunteer at CVTL

2 thoughts on “Breathing the clean air, good food and new friends …. JCV camp (Youth Camp) story”

  1. My gratitude thanks to Red Cross Timor Leste and specially for Liquiça CVTL Branch for organizing this camp for us as youth of East Timor .
    The camp give us and specially for me many beautiful lessons such as: create friendship, working together , helping vulnerable people and create peace, which inspired me to continue to learn through Volunteer activities by humanitarian actions.

    May this activities will always continue to inspire all youth to create peace in each person and specially East Timor.


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