Grand opening of the Community Youth Centre Complex

On Saturday 9th March, Naifaru Juvenile was proud to open our newly-completed Community Youth Centre Complex. Having worked consistently with the island’s youth, and always trying to give them opportunities for progress, we remarked that the island has very few facilities to engage them. In an environment with a high unemployment rate and drug problems, our main focus was to create a hub for reaching these youths, sending out positive messages and awareness, with a focus to minimize crimes and drug use.

The centre will provide the youth of Naifaru with an indoor sports and games facility, so that they have such activities available to them in their leisure time. Since the island has such a high rate of unemployment, it will be beneficial for the youth to have a productive outlet for their time, where they can be learning new skills in a controlled environment. We have installed a noticeboard with the express purpose of featuring job advertisements, so these youth have a point of contact to seek employment. The noticeboard will be open to all employers to post advertisements, hopefully enabling more of our youth to find work.

Parallel to the recreational activities, our drop-in centre will be relocating from our current office premises to the youth complex, where we should be able to have more contact with these troubled youths. Naifaru Juvenile staffs a full-time trained counselor to provide outreach support, and conduct personal sessions and community awareness classes. In addition we employ outreach workers who make contact with drug addicts and other vulnerable people in the community to provide them with information on our services and the help that is available to them.

The evening of Saturday 9th March saw the official opening for the centre, despite a minor amount of red tape holding us back from proper signage and provision of electricity. There was an impressive turnout of around two hundred people, featuring our chief guests from Felivaru Fisheries Maldives, invited supporters of Naifaru Juvenile, and members of the extended community.

The ceremony commenced at 9pm with a reading from the Qu’ran by Abdulla Humaam, one of the community’s youths who was a participant in one of our life skills sessions.

On behalf of Naifaru Juvenile, vice-chairperson Mohamed Ahmed delivered a speech to the collected audience, giving a summary of the project’s genesis and some background on Juvenile’s activities. He presented them with the reasons for developing the CYCC, how it began and how funding was amassed to mount the project. On this topic, he gave special thanks to Evolution Events for their generous funding and support. Other funding came from various contributions from well-wishers, and the organization’s own funds. Mohammed spoke to the youth in the community, and asked them to take advantage of the opportunities the centre presents for them, and that Juvenile will endeavor to maintain the current facilities and expand in the future, providing even more equipment and opportunities.

The speech was followed by the introduction of the new Youth Award, which will be an annual award from next year, for the most active youth in social work. The criteria for entry, application process and dates will soon be available from our website, and a judging panel will select Naifaru’s first Youth Award winner in early 2014.

A new initiative of Environmentally Friendly Bags was then introduced by Dhua Abdulla Amal, and will be an ecological alternative to the current overuse of plastic bags on the island. They will be distributed to every household on Naifaru. We were delighted to welcome the president of the Women’s Development Committee, Mrs Hamdha Mohamed, to launch the bags.

Next on the agenda was Abdul Gafoor Abd’satthar, an active youth in the community, who delivered a speech thanking Naifaru Juvenile for the centre, and re-affirming that it is a community centre that should belong to everyone, and thus everyone who uses it has a responsibility to look after it. He encouraged his peers to make the best use of its services; to play but also discuss issues and sharing experiences.

Finally, we came to the formal inauguration of the centre by our chief guest, Mr Mohamed Waheed. He spoke to the gathering on how the centre is a milestone in Naifaru and also Juvenile’s history. He detailed the organization’s remarkable achievement of twelve years of unbroken progress in the community’s development, and continuously spearheading so many development activities over this time. Mr Waheed proceeded to invite everybody inside for a tour, and instead of cutting a ribbon, played a debut game of pool to officially open the complex.

The official ceremony was followed by “Boduberu”, a traditional buffet dinner, and cultural show for everybody to enjoy. The youth were engaged in playing pool, table football, darts, table tennis, and other games late into the night.

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