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QRCS marks International Youth Day 2020
Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has celebrated International Youth Day 2020, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. The theme of this year is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, which highlights the efforts and ideas that can be contributed by young people to enrich various national and international institutions and sectors. There is a need to significantly enhance their representation and engagement in formal and institutional activities, to ensure better and more sustainable policies and to build trust in public institutions, especially among youth. As humanity has been facing the risks of COVID-19, youth were at the forefront of combating the virus and supporting the economy and population against it. A chief aspect of QRCS’s humanitarian and medical response to the pandemic was recruiting thousands of young women and men through the Volunteer for Qatar campaign. They did a lot in relation to protecting the country against the outbreak. Paying attention to capacity-building, QRCS equipped those volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to undertake their national and humanitarian responsibilities. The top priority was to ensure their safety, so that they are better able to perform their tasks properly. As a result, the volunteers were qualified to make their own decisions and act autonomously in dealing with the public and infected persons. Their potential was unleashed, providing medical, mental, and logistic services at quarantine facilities. They took part with ministries in street disinfection, hygiene inspection, and distribution of personal protection materials. Also, they were deployed at many malls to guide the visitors and organize shopping. They distributed food aid to the families affected by the lockdown. Youth played a key role in health education and public health promotion. They launched innovative initiatives to spread reliable information on hand washing, social distancing, and other good habits via communication technology, internet, and social media. Under its development strategy, QRCS designs its humanitarian operations and voluntary initiatives in conformity with the UN 2030 Agenda, which introduces the concept of youth social entrepreneurship. It seeks to address the challenges faced by young social entrepreneurs towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). QRCS has numerous foreign youth-oriented humanitarian projects. With funding from Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), the Alternative Energy Training Institute in Al-Bab City, Syria, was supported to educate the displaced Syrians in the technology of solar panels, natural gas, and wind turbines. So far, 660 trainees with special needs have been graduated, including 56 females and 23 males. The institute created 60 jobs for the graduates. The Architecture Institute of Al-Bab helped 480 persons and created 300 jobs, under QUEST, a tripartite partnership of QRCS, QFFD, and Silatech to back the labor market. The first 100 graduates were given building toolkits to start their own business. Other examples include the sponsorship of 300 students of the International University of Africa (Sudan); support of the Cham Orphanage (Turkey); and upgrade of disability services, rehabilitation of higher education institutions, and launch of postgraduate programs (Gaza).