Seeing Another Way of Making a Difference

580570_10201706699182686_290939061_n On the 17th October, we started our journey to Geneva, Switzerland, to visit the United Nations. We stayed with the Christian Brothers community in Gaillard – just outside of Geneva.  The Brothers here, Brian Bond, Moy Hitchen and Peter Harney, make up the Edmund Rice International  team. All in all, they could not have been more welcoming. We shared evening prayers and meals with them. During the day we traveled to the United Nations in order to view the 17th session of the Universal Periodic Review.

The aim of doing this was to understand the role Edmund Rice International has in influencing the human rights of different countries. We learned how the process works and also what impact the Christian Brothers can have on human rights issues all over the world. Sitting in on the conference was inspiring, and seeing the ambassadors gathered together from all countries of the world was an experience that neither of us will ever forget.

At St Josephs College, the pupils are all aware of the work of the Brothers in places such as Sierra Leone, however, outside of the immersion projects, it had not occurred to many of us that there was much more work that could be done to help others. It was a shock to both of us to discover just how influential the Brothers and other NGO’s can be at the United Nations.

One of the most exciting reviews we witnessed was that of Israel, the room was full representatives from NGO’s like Edmund Rice International and UN member states. Because Israel failed to attend its previously scheduled review, many other countries were keen to express their recommendations and opinions. It became clear that countries from all corners of the world are keen to help each other to improve human rights.

The week has made us re-analyse priorities when it comes to campaigning for human rights. We are all aware of the importance of fundraising and financial support for charities. However, something that we have learned during our time in Geneva is that we need to focus more on the roots of the problem.  Sometimes, help in terms of knowledge is a lot more valuable than just giving money.

The whole trip was surreal; to be witness to such instrumental decisions was a great opportunity. The Christian Brothers shared stories with us of their travels all over the world and we learned so much from the time we spent there, it was a pleasure to share the week with them. Overall the experience was unforgettable, and we have both left with a dream to end up back at the UN in the future, permanently.
– ERI Youth Ambassador Georgia Kliment-Temple & Jacob Cook, St Joseph’s Stoke on Trent, England

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