‘Shared Values and Shared Culture’: Youth Facilitators Reflect on their Journey as Values Advocates
The Values4All program conducted an experience sharing event with youth facilitators on ‘Shared Values and Shared Culture’, with the aim of bringing together close to 80 youth facilitators across the six project districts to reflect on their journey since the beginning of the project. While a first joint event was held in Colombo in early 2020, this second reunion was conducted virtually due to the pandemic, in partnership between Sarvodaya and The Asia Foundation. One of the highlights of the program was the keynote address delivered by the Values4All Ambassador and former Sri Lankan professional cricketer, Mr. Farveez Maharoof. In his address Mr. Maharoof emphasized on the importance of practicing positive values in everyday life. Following this, participants discussed the challenges they had faced in committing to positive values during the pandemic and how they could resolve these challenges. Youth facilitators were given the opportunity to reflect on their experience during breakout sessions. Participants shared their appreciation in being part of the Values4All program and were grateful for the opportunity they got to interact with youth from different communities and districts. They also shared their appreciation for the continued guidance and support received from Mr. Ramzi and Ms. Thevuni – lead mentors of the Values4All program. Most participants said that as a result of the program, they had become more committed to following positive values in their everyday lives and setting a good example to others. Another key takeaway from the discussions were that participants had developed their public speaking skills, interpersonal skills and technological skills through the program. Participants were later invited to share presentations on their respective districts, where they showcased the various religious traditions, values, cultural events, food and places of interest within each location. Some participants commented that they had learned new information about the cultures and values of different communities within their own districts through this. They also noted that the presentations had given them new insights as to how different cultures coexist; which made them feel proud to be part of a multicultural society. The inter-district entertainment show was another highlight of the session. Participants performed dances, sang songs, recited poetry and shared short video clips that emphasized the importance of following positive values. Overall, this event indicated that the Values4All program is considered an immense success among all the youth facilitators. Besides achieving its goal of disseminating the Values Curriculum, the program had also stirred interest within facilitators to participate in similar programs in the future. The four-year program had instilled in the facilitators the importance of practicing positive values and allowed them to consciously practice these values when interacting with others in their communities.