Youth empowerment programs-Mexico

Queen Rania devotes her time to support youth empowerment programs and gets a firsthand look at the grassroots efforts of global organizations she works with

March 23, 2002

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Mexico City) On a two-day visit that took her to Mexico City and Washington, DC, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah devoted her time to support youth empowerment programs, and to get a firsthand look at the grassroots efforts of global organizations she works with.

Visiting Mexico City for a few hours, the Queen's first stop was to support the 'Make a Connection on Camera' program, a global initiative that provides youth with the opportunity to contribute to society by creating documentary videos about their local communities and the challenges facing them.

The event, organized by the Mexican partner of the International Youth Foundation, Fundacion Vamos, featured the first public viewing of the videos, which focus on important community issues such as child abuse and domestic violence, among other topics.

Queen Rania sits on the board of the International Youth Foundation, which is based in Baltimore, Maryland. At the event, youth and children shared their experiences of participating in the program with the Queen.

To date, the program has involved young people from over 720 families in 20 neighborhoods in Mexico.

Officially launched in Mexico in November 2000, it is being implemented by Fundacion Vamos--a non-profit organization established in 1996 to help underprivileged individuals improve their living conditions.

About one-third of the organization's operating budget is applied to programs that target children and youth in areas such as job training, providing transitional housing for street children, and training peer educators.

The 'Make a Connection on Camera' program comes as part of a global initiative that was launched in 2000 by the International Youth Foundation and Nokia.

In addition to Mexico, the initiative is being implemented in other countries, including China, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Queen Rania recently joined the International Youth Foundation's Board of Directors, which includes government, business, and civil society leaders from around the world.

In Baltimore, the Queen attended her first board meeting with the organization, which works in 60 countries to support programs that improve the conditions and prospects of young people.

Since its inception in 1990, the International Youth Foundation and its partners have helped more than 23 million young people learn basic life skills, and get the education and training they need to succeed. In recent months, IYF has expanded its programs in the Middle East.

Currently, it is implementing youth empowerment programs in Palestine, annually benefiting around 6,000 youth across eight villages.

Discussions are already under way for the development of IT projects for youth in Jordan. IYF officials are expected to travel to Amman next month to discuss details of these projects with relevant entities in the Kingdom.

Also in Mexico City, Queen Rania officially launched a youth osteoporosis awareness campaign that aims to increase the understanding of osteoporosis among young people, and to motivate them to take preventative action through healthy diets and lifestyles.

As part of the launch, which was held at a school in the Mexican capital, Queen Rania toured an exhibition of bone health education material that was prepared by students and teachers.

The nationwide education campaign has already involved the participation of 1,200 students and 250 teachers representing four schools in Mexico City. Following the official launch, the campaign will move to other schools across Mexico.

Also at the launch, the Queen presented a student representing the children of Mexico with a copy of the "Invest in Your Bones" youth report published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

The report investigates how diet, lifestyles, and genetics affect bone development in young people. Friday's event was organized by the Comité Mexicano para la Prevencion de la Osteoporosis (COMOP)--the Mexican national member society of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).

Since 1999, Queen Rania has been Patron of IOF, a Switzerland-based umbrella organization of nearly 130 societies working in over 65 countries to fight osteoporosis and other skeletal diseases.

Established in 1994, COMOP works to fight the spread of osteoporosis through awareness and detection campaigns, as well as education campaigns for doctors and patients. In welcoming Queen Rania Friday, COMOP Goodwill Ambassador Angélica Maria paid tribute to the Queen for her efforts in the global osteoporosis movement.

"It is very reassuring to know that a Queen from such a distant country as Jordan is strongly supporting the worldwide movement, which aims to create awareness among healthy people of the important opportunity they have to develop the strongest bones possible when they are young," she told an over-800 member audience of children, parents, school officials, as well as representatives from the Mexican Government and private sector.

It is expected that following the launch by the Queen, the Mexican Ministry of Health will also launch a health campaign that will include osteoporosis awareness in schools across the country.

Also in Mexico City, the Queen disbursed the first loans from a global fund she launched last week to several Mexican women entrepreneurs.

The Global Endowment for the Poor, an initiative of the Washington-based Foundation for International Community Assistance, aims to alleviate poverty and create self-sufficiency by supporting the poorest microentrepreneurs around the world.

In the Mexican city of Monterrey, and on the sidelines of the UN International Conference on Financing for Development, Queen Rania had met with Mexican First Lady Martha Sahagon Jiménez.

The two First Ladies discussed their work in many areas of mutual interest, including women and childhood issues.