Ave youth outdoor 'Sorheza' festival
By Phyllis D. Osabutey
Pix by Eric Owiredu
The people of Ave have launched the 'Ave Sorheza', otherwise known as Youth Festival, to organise a congregation of its youth across the country, in the spirit of integration, brotherhood and communalism.
The festival, which is to focus on culture and a number of other programmes, including a football gala, clean up exercises, street carnivals, picnics, medical screening, and beauty pageant among others, would be celebrated annually, during the Easter season.
The Sorheza is expected to provide a nation-wide exposure to the youth for the expression and fulfillment of their cultural talents, aspirations, and support a non-governmental organisation called, Efo Yeyetor Foundation (EYF), in its activities.
The festival is an initiative of the EYF, and brought together chiefs, queenmothers and elders of the various communities of Ave, all the youth branches of the Ave Development Union (AVEDU), and citizens of Ave living and working in Accra, to the launching ceremony in Accra, on Sunday.
The Founder of EYF, Mr. Tony Quist, said the maiden festival would be held at the new district capital, Ave Dakpa, and then spread across the other Ave townships to break any monopoly during subsequent years of celebration.
He noted that 'most families away from home are settler farmers who have become more of natives of the various areas of abode, having brought forth their children over the years, and have become part of those communities.'
Thus, the motive of the festival 'is to propagate the concept of Ave integration, communal harmony, brotherliness and commitment to exposure of developmental issues that would arouse the interest of the youth to open up the Ave traditional area.'
According to him, the festival would further promote and encourage sustainable impact through youth oriented initiatives in the Ave area and its environs, promote the harmonisation of the youth initiative in furtherance of justice, equity, human rights, good governance and reconciliation in the community and beyond.
Furthermore, the festival would establish a youth forum for the exchange of information, experience, resource and mentorship, promote lobbying and advocacy of the members of the community among others.
He observed that considering the daunting problems bedeviling the people of Ave, 'there is the need for us to come together, as youth, to provide some forms of intervention, rather than leaving it solely in the hands of government.'
He advised the youth to bury all their political differences, and jointly fight the daunting socio-economic misfortunes plaguing the people of Ave, adding, 'Ave Sorheza has not been formed to fight our leaders, but to bring development to the people of Ave, in accordance to the motto of the festival, 'One Ave, One People, and One Vision'.'
The Paramount Chief of Ave Dakpa, Togbui Nyamekor Glakpe V, who launched the festival, said Aves had been fragmented since the end of the first World War, while various attempts to unify the various groups had proved difficult.
Thus, he thought the youth festival a good initiative to reunite the people, particularly, the youth of Ave, saying, 'although every town in Ave has a youth movement of the sort, the elevation of Ave to district status has served as a positive catalyst in bringing all the various youth movements under one umbrella, as we are witnessing today.'
He urged the youth not to politicise the festival, so that the various youth groups could participate fully in the activities, while giving due respect to the traditional rulers and elders, to foster a peaceful co-existence.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Youth and Sports, Clement Kofi Humado, by Mr. Samuel Attipoe, he said the ideas for youth development behind the festival were good and solid stepping stones that could guarantee a vibrant future for the youth.
He told the youth to take advantage of government's myriad of youth initiatives such as the youth leadership and skills training institutes nationwide, providing skills training for over 2,250 deprived and disadvantaged youth.
These, he pointed out, would help the youth become employable in a range of subject areas that interests them, and further urged them to take advantage of a national youth database project that was already underway, to register their youth organisations for free.
He informed the youth that the National Youth Authority (NYA) had established a Youth Consultative Assembly in preparation for the inauguration of a National Youth Parliament, and as part of the process, the NYA had developed a website to improve its relations with the public and clients.
He added that a chat room on the website discusses youth issues, where views collated would be submitted to committees of the National Parliament, saying, 'This is a major way youth groups like yours will find enough space to take advantage in the governance process of the country.'
Also, he used the opportunity to emphasise the need for 'all youth, not only those in your association, but even outside, to continually resist the temptation to use and abuse drugs, because there is a direct correlation between drugs and HIV/AIDS, and failure to achieve one's set goals in life.'