Thursday, 09 August 2012 15:25 | Written by Mansour Nouredin
“The role of the Eritrean youth in the development of their country is crucial and the outcome so far achieved is self-evident,” says Samuel Ghirmay, an electrician working in the Gerset agricultural project, in Gash Barka. Noting that they had been effectively running the project from the very beginning, Samuel pointed out that after having quickly learned how to maintain the newly established 64 meters-long pivot irrigation machinery from a foreign expert, they have now taken complete charge.
Samuel, 32, has been working at the project for 5 years. Representing his project in Gerset, he was introducing the project’s activities to the participants of the 5th youth festival held in Sawa. The biannual festival held from 13-15 July, 2012 also has also seen the graduation of the 25th round of the national service.
During the three-day long festival the various presentation comprising innovation, regional pavilions by NUEYS chapters of the six regional administrations, activities of the Eritreans in Diaspora, research papers, sport and cultural activities, seminars, fashion show, general knowledge, among others were conducted.
Speaking about the innovation exhibition Mr. Fthi, Coordinator of the Board of Innovation and Invention ,said that out of the hundred innovation tasks the board, comprising of IT specialists and engineers, selected 65 winners. Out of these 46 were on information technology, 6 on electromechanics and the remaining 13 were presentations by high school students. He further noted that 36 works were presented by students from the Eritrean Institute of Technology. “Such an outcome manifests the effectiveness of the Eritrean learning institutions,” he elaborated.
“The youth festival is not held just for the sake of celebrations. It instigates feelings of competition in different fields. It is a center of creativity – creativity in all fields of invention especially in software designing to which I am involving in,” says Abrehe Yemane one of the ICT presenters.
Abrehe designed a dictionary application that translates from English to Tigrigna, Arabic and Tigre languages.
Soira award, which recognizes an exemplary achievement by the youth, is a new addition to this year’s festival. In this year’s festival, eleven youths categorized in two parts were recipients of the award and financial assistance from the President. Said Mohammed is one of them. Said, a student at the Orota School of Medicine came up with a new mathematics theory.
Also, 370 students received the Sawa award, which is given to students who completed high school and college studies abroad. This year there were students from the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
One of the recipients is Nejat Ahmed from Sudan. Nejat, a student of media studies at the University of America in Khartoum, believes such an award creates an impact on the recipients to bolster their attachment with their home country. “On my part, upon the completion of my studies I will come to Eritrea and perform my national service,” she added.
The participation of the Eritreans from the Diaspora at the festival was noteworthy. Beside the exhibitions they presented, they also participated at the various cultural and sport activities.
“The importance of the festival among the many include its role on empowering the youth on nation building,” says Mr. Ismail Musa head of consular affairs at the Eritrean embassy in Sudan. Mr. Ismael further noted that cultivating national sentiments on youth is yielding its due results.
Elabrating on that, he said that after the completion of their studies, some of the active YPFDJ members in Sudan are now returning back home and serving in different capacities. The participants from Sudan, 105 in number, visited many development sites in the country including Bisha, Aligider, Tesenei and also planted seedlings in Kerkebet and Embaderho.
Mr. Ismael also said that for a significant number of the attendees the festival was an occasion to visit their country for the first time. Abdulhafiz Mohammed, 29, came to Eritrea for the first time. He mentioned that this visit was an eye-opener and gave him an impetus to serve Eritrea with his expertise, like what his colleagues from Sudan are doing. His colleagues, Aman and Efrem, graduates from Sudanese universities are now serving in various institutions in Eritrea.
During the occasion the cultural performances of the many foreign cultural troupes has added color to festival. Beside the lineup of renowned Eritrean singers including the EriAm sisters, Enjoy from Sweden and Naomi Mahdere from Canada, other international singers like the Crane Performers from Uganda, Lebogang Masemola from South Africa, Miss Jojo from Rwanda, and Mohammed Hassen from Sudan also performed during the festival.
Speaking about her impressions Lwam Tesfai from Holland says that this visit proved Sawa was the center gravity of the youth, where they can be equipped with various skills that they may find handy in their future endevours.
“It is not a matter of where you live; it is just a matter of who you are and how you perceive each other. During the course of the event, I have witnessed Eritreans living inside and abroad enjoying the festivities together,” she adds.
She further noted that the little lack of coordination, which caused difficulties to some of the attendees during the first days in Sawa, should be taken as a lesson for future events.
One of the Kenyan participants at the East Africa Youth Forum held in Asmara before the festival was Benjamin Gakuru. Noting that the forum was envisioned on youth involvement in peace building and strengthening their integration among themselves noted that the activities he witnessed in Sawa are quite amazing and that he realized all he had heard about Eritrea in the international media were indeed deliberate smear campaigns.
This year’s youth festival, which was conducted with great fervor, was concluded with speeches and cultural performances on the 15th of July 2012. (Shaebia.org)