A STUDENT is back from an exchange visit to Pakistan full of ideas of how to make South Yorkshire better.
Siobhan Ross Gardener attended the Youth in Action for Global Change conference in Islamabad at the invitation of the British Council.
The two-day meeting brought together representatives from cultural and ethnic backgrounds as diverse as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma, Nepal, the USA and the UK.
Siobhan, from Rotherham, attended along with fellow Rotherham student Ali Ayub and Taiba Yasseen, chief executive of the Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance.
She said: “It was an amazing experience to meet other young people from different parts of the world and, even though we had very different lives, we had so much in common about the issues that concern us.
“I have been inspired in so many ways about how we as individuals can really make a difference in our own community here in Rotherham.”
Young people representing different countries joined together to discuss global issues such as poverty, education and leadership.
The aim was to share experiences in how to achieve ‘civic engagement’ of young people globally.
The project was led by REMA, and by Voluntary Action Rotherham VAR, in association with Rotherham’s One Town One Community campaign. It is hoped young people who attended will now help make a difference in their local community and make the most of links with other youngsters from around the world.
Shafiq Hussain, of Rotherham VAR, said: “The Active Citizens Programme provided a rare opportunity for the Rotherham voluntary and community sector to engage with an international programme that supports the community sector from different countries.
“It has given the delegates the chance to learn how voluntary groups in these countries are making a difference by taking part in initiatives on a local level.
“They can then bring this expertise back here and work on it to develop programmes that benefit local people.”
Siobhan and Ali were joined by representatives from Oldham and Bury in Lancashire.