DOHA: In celebration of International Youth Day, Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) organised a women-only workshop under the theme ‘‘Youth’s Role in Humanitarian Organizations,’ attended by representatives of QRC volunteers, QRC Ladies Forum, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Hosted by Grand Heritage Doha Hotel with 45 participants, the workshop discussed significant topics, including: The current role of the youth in humanitarian organizations, suggestions and ideas for better youth participation in charitable action, personal and community barriers to volunteering and the role of institutions in this respect, ways to raise awareness of social responsibility as due among nationals and residents, and a girl-oriented survey on volunteering and its areas and challenges.
On behalf of QRC Secretary-General, Saleh bin Ali Al Mohannadi, the session was opened by Najat Al Haidous, Head of QRC Volunteers Division, who delivered a keynote speech on the history of volunteering at the organization.
Noura Al Dossari, Chairwoman of QRC Ladies Forum, also talked about the integration of state and private efforts to develop and help the youth actualize their own volunteering, charitable, and humanitarian initiatives.
Aisha bint Jassim Al Kuwari, Chairwoman of Qatar Centre for Voluntary Activities, gave an overview on the Center’s activities and belief in the role played by the youth in achieving Qatar National Vision 2030.
The floor was then given to Dr Haya Al Madadi, the workshop’s moderator and representative of the ministry, who introduced herself, welcomed the guests, and initiated the discussions.
Kulthum Al Kaabi, from Tomouh Initiative, described her volunteering experience and the projects undertaken by the group. Nouf Al Merri, from Sanad Initiative, talked about her history with volunteering and how it is important to start developing a sense of responsibility towards society and the nation from childhood.
Several challenges to volunteerism were highlighted, such as the lack of a distinct platform that publicizes voluntary activities in Qatar, as well as inadequate education of parents about the importance of engaging children and young people in voluntary activities.
Mounira Mohamed, a guest, emphasized the fact that voluntary projects and popular initiatives are poorly marketed, attributing this to insufficient training, low self-confidence, and acceptability concerns among the leaders of those initiatives. She asserted that any initiative member promotes his group will himself be a winner, as it will be recognized as a personal success and an indirect but positive advertising of his own abilities.
After the gathering, Al Kuwari said, “We in Qatar enjoy great advantages that made it a country of the youth, in its leadership, vision, and attention to that segment, which stands as the pillar of the present and future of our nation. State institutions work not only for the youth, but also with them, in line with their ambitions and preferences. Qatar always pins her greatest hopes on its youth in all fields.”
She revealed a new project to establish a Qatari volunteer database, with an up-to-date network covering the voluntary activities of all government and non-governmental organizations. This database will help the youth find any information they want online to make use of any possible volunteering opportunities.
Dr Al Madadi commended the workshop and the interactive attendance, thanking the organizers for inviting her and for the well-organized event.
“Presenting personal experiences gives life examples for volunteers and encourages the youth to be more socially active. The feedback from youth engagements in humanitarian events and projects was excellent, as in the nationally and internationally welcomed Disaster Management Camp. “There were constructive proposals to focus on the coming generation, by promoting community participation at schools and youth centres, inspiring the youth to take action, creating a big humanitarian goal for them to pursue, and spreading social responsibility particularly through parenting.
The workshop came up with some viable ideas for more effective youth engagement. The group discussed the slogan of the International Youth Day, ‘Say No to Drugs, Say No to Smoking,’ which addresses mental and psychological health. They also discussed how the youth can gain self-acceptance through helping others and making them happy, whether in terms of the rewarding emotional effects of being helpful or in terms of the spiritual satisfaction resulting from benevolence as urged by the Islamic religion.