84% of Bajan youth are optimistic about their power to make a difference in the world
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - As the world marks the 33rd anniversary of International Volunteer Day (IVD) this Wednesday 5th December, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados is working to highlight the important role that Bajan youth play in supporting their communities and country through volunteering. Everyday Award participants give their time to help others in pursuit of their Awards. Young people in Barbados contributed more than 1,300 hours of volunteering services last year through their work with the Award. Despite this, today’s young people all over the world are labelled with a range of negative stereotypes, such as narcissistic, entitled and lazy. Yet, in a series of surveys spanning more than 100 countries and territories, it was found that many youths disagree with these labels. In partnership with U-Report Global, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award asked almost 8,000 13-25 year olds whether they had felt judged by a label or stereotype. Three quarters confirmed they had. For those from Barbados, nearly two thirds felt that same judgement.
Yet in additional surveys of more than 5,000 adults and young people globally, many were unconvinced by the negative labels:
Only a quarter of young people and a fifth of adults believe young people to be lazy.
A quarter of young people and a third of adults consider them to be selfish.
And in Barbados young people feel optimistic:
More than half of young people surveyed believe they are engaged in the world around them.
3/4 think they are passionate.
More than half say they are globally-minded and nearly 3/4 are value-driven.
Almost 3/4 think young people are open-minded.
Eighty-four per cent of Bajan youth believe in their power to make a difference in the world. And more than 60% of young people believe that their peers are absolutely willing to give back to their communities and offer their time volunteering.
Silver Award participant and volunteer at the RSPCA, Daniel Melville, is one such young person. He says,
“I think it is important to volunteer because it teaches you a sense of responsibility.”
Like him Erin Cummins, another passionate Award participant, really believes that you should always be willing to help others since you just don’t know when you will be the one in need. Meanwhile Gold Award holder and Award volunteer Robert Bourne believes,
“The best thing I like about volunteering is firstly the smiles and laughter from children's faces, when you know they've gained information and knowledge which will help them in the future. And secondly, the massive feeling of happiness knowing that you've helped someone. And I think that is the key to volunteering - just being able to give back and feel good about it.”
Carla Alleyne, Operations Manager of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados says:
“Last year our Award participants contributed more than 1,300 hours of volunteering services in Barbados. And more than 1.3 million young people all over the world are currently volunteering their time to support their own communities through The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. For participants here in Barbados, I can say that the Award is working to help them to see more of the country, to be exposed to people outside of their regular peer group. In search of service hours, they are going out and speaking to strangers, helping persons with various needs and challenges.
This last week we all worked together for the annual Christmas in the Square celebration. Our Award participants have made decorations from recycled materials for their tree at Fountain Gardens in National Heroes Square. This effort is important because it gives the youth the chance to work creatively and collaborate. But even more useful is the immense value that comes from knowing that your individual effort will help to bring joy to others. This is the essence of the service section of the Award; it allows youth to make an impact on their community.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global, non-formal education framework that challenges young people to develop leadership skills, dream big, celebrate their achievements and make a difference in their world. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados has been running for 55 years. It currently sees more than 300, 14 - 24 year olds participate every year. It is available at 14 of the islands private and public secondary schools. Additionally, it is offered through the Barbados Cadet Corps, The Girl Guides Association of Barbados and Barbados Boy Scouts Association.
Remarkable young people such as Daniel Melville or any of the Christmas in the Square participants are available for interview to find out more about how they’re making a difference in Barbados this International Volunteer’s Day.
For more information please visit:
 Survey of 7,681 13-25 year olds, through U-Report, September 2018. U-Report is a free social messaging tool which enables 13-25 year olds globally to speak out on development issues, support child rights and help to improve their communities. www.ureport.in [2 Survey of 3,487 16-25 year olds and 1,825 adults (25+), July – September 2018. In partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award family around the world.