Standard Times (Freetown)

22 August 2003

Sierra Leone: 'Youths Must Make Sacrifices'

Freetown — "If young men and women of today want to live in a better Sierra Leone than we are seeing now, then they need to sacrifice their time, energy and skills where needed without thinking about money", expressed Haroun Sankoh, a senior official attached to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Mr. Harun Sankoh was speaking at a meeting of youth groups within the Congo Town and Brookfield areas about United Nations Volunteers and the Global Youth Action Network.

The meeting, which was held at the Secretariat of the Ministry of Youths and Sport, Bishop's House was aimed at, among others, increasing recognition of the significance of youth in voluntary service, coupled with an increased and expanded networking amongst young volunteer organizations and other stakeholders.

He emphasized the importance of the role of youth NGOs in prompting volunteerism and national capacity building.

"The idealism and humane philosophies of the NGOs and community-based organizations provide attractive avenues for our youth. They therefore serve as good settings for helping young people," he said, adding, "to apply their energies and initiative in the most effective way and to derive moral satisfaction in their involvement in the struggle for just, peaceful and a prosperous society." Mr. Harun Sankoh encouraged the youths to realize that volunteering is not only rewarding to the community but also to the individuals, adding that it calls for more younger volunteers to further economic and social development.

He statedm, "It is time religious youth groups, Christians and Muslims alike came out from their shells to plan programmes that will make the youths realize that they have broader obligations towards the society in general, and not only their religious setups." Mr. Amara Kallon of Hamdaillah Islamic Organization observed that youths play a vital role towards the development of the country, adding that they will have to carry the mantle of state in the future, and must therefore prepare themselves for the challenges ahead.

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