Farah Nassef, 26, knows how easy it is to lose everything and be driven out of your home.
“One of my relatives was forced to leave the country to avoid the forced military conscription of her sons. She left her house, friends, and the life she had built up for decades due to the devastating consequences of the war,” Farah explains.
There are more than 240,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently registered with UNHCR Egypt. Many are women and children.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provides registration, refugee status determination, and protection assistance to refugees and asylum seekers from 58 nationalities, in coordination with national and international NGOs.
According to World Bank data, half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 25 years of age and each year until 2035, there will be half a million more 15-year-olds than the year before.
While Africa’s youth bulge could present an opportunity for innovation and economic growth for the continent, many countries still struggle to provide sufficient perspectives for their youth. Youth unemployment continues to be a challenge for Sub-Sahara Africa with rates being as high as 60 per cent in some countries.
EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT KEY IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Hassane Abdoulsalamou has been serving as a national UN Volunteer with IOM since November 2016. He supports a project for the empowerment of youth in Niger (AJPANI), which offers youth at risk of conflict opportunities to develop through socio-economic participation and mechanisms faciliting participation in decision-making and peacebuilding
There are different interpretations of the concept of volunteering across cultures and regions, and this is equally true within Arab countries. When a wealthy citizen reacts to a natural disaster by offering to contribute money, or makes donations of blankets and food to the people affected by the disaster, this is often seen as voluntary and therefore volunteerism. Charity is a vital component of humanitarian assistance, but it is not volunteerism.
Yasmine Mohamed Mohamed Zaki El-Demerdash is a UN Volunteer Reception Coordinator with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt.
Cairo, Egypt: My name is Mohammad Abbas. I am a national UN Volunteer in Egypt. An accountant for many years, I was really unhappy with my job. I wanted out. I got my chance in 2014. I became a Community Service Intern with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Interacting with people, guiding them, answering queries were all part of my job. In January 2015, I became UN Volunteer Reception Coordinator for UNHCR in Cairo.
Given record levels of youth unemployment, and political and social instability, young people in the Arab Region and around the world need positive role models more than ever.
When young people themselves provide those role models, in those who have overcome social exclusion, underemployment and poverty to bring about positive changes in their communities and countries, the effects are even more powerful.