//vol.14-4 Talking point


Perhaps what we do can best be summed up by what Winston Churchill once wrote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.


This is the season of gifting: getting and receiving. Generally, they are tangibles; things that can be boxed and wrapped; elements of surprise, expectation and sometimes even disappointment.

What about the intangible gifts that we might have received out of season? Gifts that don’t come gift wrapped with bows, instead, they come through experiences or lessons or encounters. Gifts that don’t generally get discarded in a week or are more challenging to exchange. Gifts that have impact and change us, usually for the better.

These are the gifts that are covered in this issue: gifts that young people have received over the year that have influenced on their lives; either by individually building up confidence or resilience; by making them brave or inquisitive; or by motivating the recipients to pass the gift forward by helping others. These are also the gifts that they have given back, through volunteering and caring for others; by teaching and connecting people together.

The Federation doesn’t really see itself as a ‘gift giving’ organisation; rather, we call ourselves a service organisation or a non-governmental organisation (NGOs), which we are.

We see ourselves as an organisation that sees a need and seeks to fill it in relation to young people. We see ourselves as supporting innovation by having the freedom to look at issues from different angles and create pilot projects that perhaps governments are unable to do. We see ourselves as being able to nurture and train young people to develop and deepen their levels of skills and competencies; to have experiences and exposures that they might otherwise not have and to instil in them the confidence and courage to be leaders, in whatever domain, for the future.

We see ourselves as the vanguard of research and monitoring or youth concerns and issues, evaluating processes and sharing results with the wider community so that change might happen. And we see ourselves as champions of advocacy for and with youth people to influence government policies. Finally, we see ourselves as facilitators of communication, not speaking for young people, but speaking with their voice as we can in trust and reputation.

All these things are actually “gifts”. Perhaps what we do can best be summed up by what Winston Churchill once wrote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

As we go into the new year, hopefully putting aside all the challenges and changes we have faced, we can redefine ourselves. See what we do, not simply as a duty or service to others, but as gifts that we give, because we know that they are gifts that are paid forward as young people mature and make their own mark in the world.