Cause neutral fund development

I spend vast amounts of my time, investigating ways, means and avenues available to obtain funding for youth centered projects. By far the greatest challenge is competing with the many other noble causes that are out there. No one organization has the ability to prioritize what they are doing, above that of another organization. And, it would seem that on the international stage, there is no one organization with the mandate to set priorities for the world to follow. Don’t get me wrong, there are of course hot spots, development goals, studies and opinions.

Individuals are seeing record numbers of calls for their funding and support. And, most people will naturally lean towards an issue which has affected them personally, or touched a family member or close friend. There have been some calls for sources of funding that are cause neutral. This is to allow for obscure yet important social matters to obtain support, despite the initial appearance of the cause, which may not seem at all popular.

For those of us working with both disadvantaged and exceptional youth, our challenges are many. Every corner of most communities will have a project for disadvantaged young people. And, very few people see the benefits of helping exceptional youth to develop further. Unfortunately, both groups suffer from the same core issue. A shortage in support networks of passionate, dedicated and experienced adults able to guide them through the many tunnels and diversions that life throws at them.

The case for supporting a cause that is popular, will far out way the instinct to give to a cause neutral fund, at least today. So, people like me must be more direct in asking for financial support. The issues of youth are far and wide. We at People to People International Europe, focus our energies on giving youth a diverse set of experiences, supporting their personal and emotional development and orchestrating numerus possibilities to bring youth together for peer support.

We have been established in Belgium since 1970. And, operating as the European HQ for our Region since 2015. The PTPI European 2016 annual report can be found at this link.

Your contributions to People to People International-Europe, help make a lasting impact and empower our network, to be an active force in creating and sustaining a more peaceful world. Your donations go a long way to supporting the development of our young people.

Thank you
Chalks Corriette
President – European Executive Committee
Regional Chair, Europe

A glass of diverse cultures, abilities and sexualities in a Brussels pub

By: Angel Dimitrievski – Skopje, Macedonia, Community Chapter

Following an EEC Youth meeting in Brussels with Chalks Corriette, I spent some time exploring the melting pot of cultures, that make up Brussels.

It’s Sunday evening. I am reading a book in a pub in the heart of Brussels and the waiter turns off the radio. The ladies next to me take a small drum out of their bag, a few papers dripped with coffee and they start to sing. A melody that makes me stop doing everything at that moment, and I just listen to them. One girl had traveled from Brazil to visit her friends in Brussels, and learn new singing techniques from another lady who is retired, and has been singing her whole life. While they entertain the pub, guests from Zambia arrive and sit at the next table. One of the new arrivals joins the musicians and now they are synchronized as if they had sung together for years.

A girl in a wheelchair enters the pub a few minutes later. There are no obstacles stopping her from reaching the table where her friends wait for her. She talks about her work, and how she hates that the new working week starts tomorrow, Monday. Even though I have experienced the world of disability, quite deeply, it is astonishing for me how this girl has an exciting life, even though she is disabled. I know, it is nothing to be surprised at, and as an advocate and activist for the disabled community, I often say that this way of life should be the norm and not an exceptional situation. But, I just do not see this happen on a regular basis. It made me feel very good.

On the next table, two boys are drinking wine and speak about something in French, holding hands and celebrate their love. Maybe it’s an anniversary. In the country where I come from, probably this would be met with public humiliation or in the worst case, a beating. I just can’t imagine how someone would make that beautiful voice next to me, stop singing Brazilian songs, or forbidding these boys to show that they love each other.

But I could not get out of my mind, comparisons of my home country, where this was a problem and not a usual atmosphere on a Sunday evening. I finished my orange juice, congratulated the pub musicians on their performance and ate one last Belgian waffle before flying home. The waffle was small and extremely sweet, as was this weekend I spent in Brussels.