The Vatican Youth Symposium - An Inspirational Eye-Opener

An inspirational eye-opening experience! That is how Jellferlyne Joseph described her two days at the Vatican Youth Symposium held in October 30-31 this year. 

The Symposium, which brought together some 50 young leaders from around the globe to devise solutions to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gave Jellferlyne a first-hand account on the issues and responses by other nations.

“The sharing of ideas and opinions has widened my perspective on what is happening in the world today. I have learnt so much,” Good Shepherd Programme Officer Jellferlyne said.

The Symposium this year focussed on finding solutions to achieve SDG 4 and SDG 8, with additional emphasis on target 8.7. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable education while SDG 8 promotes sustainable economic growth so that there is decent work for all. The emphasis on 8.7 is due to the pressing current concern of trafficking and slavery of youth.

Jellferlyne said that 47 delegates presented creative ideas on how to tackle the issues related to poverty, inequality, human trafficking, gender equality, education and environment.

During the Symposium, Malaysia’s representative Jellferlyne presented her paper entitled Advocacy and Community Empowerment Program. The program detailed the injustices faced by migrant workers’ children in the state of Sabah, steps taken to empower them through the sharing of their stories and helping them find opportunities for self-development, as well as advocating their issues to various stakeholders. 

“This initiative aims to achieve SDG 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities to all, and SDG 10 of reducing inequality,” she said.

Jellferlyne added that she could sense how passionate the youth leaders felt about their cause through their presentations. “What really moved me is the fact that we all share the same dream of bringing justice and peace to this world,” she said.

Jellferlyne also had the chance to experience the generosity of the international Good Shepherd community at the Generalate in Rome where the Congregational Leadership Team is based. “My initial anxieties were quickly quelled by their warmth and welcoming hospitality,” she said. 

She described the opportunity to visit Good Shepherd Generalate, the surprise encounter with Pope Francis and the forming of new friendships with other young leaders as truly a lifetime privilege and blessing.  

“I would like to express my gratitude to Good Shepherd Services for believing in me and giving me this amazing opportunity to expand and deepen my personal beliefs and commitment to Good Shepherd mission of working with those on the margins,” she said.