Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada
Volunteer Force Pakistan, one of Pakistan's fastest growing youth networks, recently held a National Youth Conference at the Karakoram International University, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. We had the pleasure of working with Volunteer Force Pakistan during our time in the country this year. Their events focus on Pakistan's youth using social media positively, and present speakers from a wide range of backgrounds to give individuals in attendance the opportunity to learn from them.
In August, they hosted their Karakoram National Youth Conference in Gilgit-Baltistan, a region where conferences like this don't take place as frequently as more populated cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. It is incredible to see the strides that are being made to ensure that youth around the country feel empowered, inspired to pursue their dreams and give back to their communities, through organizations like Volunteer Force Pakistan.
Throughout this conference, youth had the opportunity to hear from speakers who are leaders in different fields. Each speaker spoke about the various aims of Volunteer Force Pakistan in the context of improving Pakistan as a whole and helping it become a more developed country. The topics ranged from Volunteerism to Women Empowerment.
We spoke to the President of Volunteer force Pakistan, who was one of the Keynote speakers at the event, and heard about his perspective of the conference, and conducting it in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
"The response we have gotten by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan at the Karakoram National Youth Conference was overwhelming. They all have tremendous and clear knowledge of Volunteerism. Their culture, values, ethics and traditions are so rich. For example, every little child respects his/her elders and gets respected by his/her elders. It is the land of perfection. All Pakistanis can learn so much from and should try to adopt the culture, values, ethics, morals and traditions of Gilgit-Baltistan." - VFP President, Usman Raza Jolaha
Volunteer Force Pakistan President Usman Raza Jolaha addressing the audience and receiving an award from Vice-Chancellor of Karakoram International University Dr. Khalil, and Sir Momen Jan
Many young men and women were presented awards for their volunteerism and their efforts to create a positive change in their communities as well. Volunteer Force Pakistan consists of a network of passionate youth who strive to create change throughout the country, and engages youth in areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, where empowerment initiatives do not take place as frequently as they do in major cities.
Overall, we believe that it is very important to hold empowerment conferences like this one all around Pakistan, which Volunteer Force Pakistan is doing so well already.
We hope that the youth attending these events are inspired to create change, and help Pakistan continue to advance in the fields of women empowerment, climate justice, and inclusivity of its diverse cultures in the years to come.