Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dutch youth visits Cebu for cultural exchange

Cebu, Philippines (12 July)--Thirty-three 33 youth from Netherlands visit Cebu for the Pinoy-Dutch Xplore program that aims to facilitate multi-cultural understanding and educational exchange about Filipino and Dutch cultures.
The Pinoy-Dutch Xplore program, that started in 2006, is made possible through the Sister City relationship between Cebu City and Haarlemmermeer , Netherlands .
This year’s second run from July 8-29, is a joint undertaking between Meerlanden Youth Cebu, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) - the overall project coordinator, Cebu City Government, and other Cebu-based organizations.
Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña, welcomed the participants during the opening program held at the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center on July 9.
To know more about the City, the participants had a guided tour at the various heritage and cultural sites such as the Magellan’s Cross and Port San Pedro. They also visited Mandaue City Hall where they meet with Mayor Jonas Cortes and tasted some Mandaue delicacies like the tagaktak and bibingka.
In the 3-week program, the Pinoy and Dutch youth will experience the adventure-based leadership training through RAFI’s Kool Adventure Camp (KAC).
They will also be immersed in the various institutions like the Batang Pinangga Center– an orphanage based in Carmen; Don Bosco Boys’ Town in Liloan; college farm of Cebu State College of Science and Technology (CSCST) in Barili; and the Justice Peace and Integrity in Creation (JPIC) fishing and dumpsite communities in Mactan.
“(We are here) looking for similarities. Differences don’t matter,” said one of the Dutch participants upon sharing his expectations in the program during the press briefing last July 9.
The delegates will also build 10 houses for the Gawad Kalinga site in Bogo; undergo environmental exposure in selected marine sanctuaries in Mactan and Olanggo islands; and plant trees at the watershed area in Pung-ol Sibugay, Cebu City on July 28.
All these activities aim to provide opportunities for the youth to enhance their knowledge, skills, and competence, as well as shape their character, attitudes, and values towards becoming pro-active citizens.
Joining the Dutch youth are counterparts from two RAFI programs, namely; the Young Minds Academy , a citizenship education and youth leadership development program, and Timawa Adventure Leadership Inc. – a post camp program for the KAC alumni.
Other organizations involved in the program are FORGE, Share-A-Child, KAPAI, St. Arnold Janssen Community Learning Center, SOS Childrens’ Village, SAPAK Foundation, Cebu Micro-Enterprise Development Foundation Inc. and Cebu City Medical Center .(PIA-Cebu/MBCN)

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