Pretoria – In early October 2013, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth visited South Africa for the first time. As part of his visit, on 4 October 2013, Ahmad Alhendawi took time to visit the SOS Children’s Village in Mamelodi, a township outside Pretoria, to show his support for the youth who reside in the SOS-sponsored community.
After visiting the community computer lab and viewing the crafts workshop, the Envoy met with SOS youth from eleven different countries around Africa who are now in South Africa for their university studies.
The Envoy listened as the students raised important issues such as the challenge of finding gainful employment after they complete their studies. Alhendawi encouraged the students, declaring that “Africa is a rich continent, and its biggest asset is its young people.”
The students were enthusiastic about the UN’s new focus on the issues of youth. One student commented, “I am very excited about how the youth are now the UN’s top priority. Africa has so much potential, and now perhaps we will be able to realize it fully.”
While in South Africa, the Envoy participated in the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg, which attracted over 1,000 young people. He also engaged with members of the UN South Africa Country Team over issues concerning youth. They agreed to make South Africa one of the 15 countries to pilot UN youth advisory boards.