Jakarta. AIESEC, the world's largest non-profit student-run organization, sponsored Emily Falconer, a 16-year-old American girl who is passionate about global issues, to volunteer in countries across the world, including Indonesia, in an effort to promote the so-called Sustainable Development Goals.
“Global goals are incredibly important and I think it’s equally important for everyone to know about it as well because they outline the problems that each country has individually," Falconer said in a statement in Jakarta on Friday (18/02).
Sustainable Development Goals, spearheaded by the United Nations, are a set of 17 aspirational global goals with 169 targets between them. They cover a broad range of sustainable development issues including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change and protecting oceans and forests.
Falconer's interest began when she spent most of her time writing about volunteer projects on her blog. In order to further her ambitions, she approached her school in January 2016 which offered to allow her to complete her curriculum on a flexible basis.
Falconer and her mother approached the United Nations Human Settlements Program, or UN Habitat, which then put her in touch with AIESEC, which provides young people with leadership development and cross-cultural global internship and volunteer exchange experiences across the globe with 70,000 members in 127 countries.
She then embarked on her journey and has so far visited nine countries, eight of which are in Europe and one in Africa. Each of her volunteer projects focused on different goals, tailored to suit the needs and priorities of each country.
Her 10th and current stop is Makassar in South Sulawesi, where her project is concentrated on the third global goal, to promote health care.
While in Makassar, Falconer met with Mayor Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto, on Wednesday to discuss efforts to implement her project.
Falconer also launched "Hometown Project," an initiative which coincides with World Kidney Day in March. The project aims to encourage AIESEC Indonesia members to raise awareness in their hometowns on the importance of drinking clean water for kidney health and in doing so, bring about a positive change in their communities.
“Being able to see different countries has really changed my perspective, especially when we were visiting countries which are a little bit poor. It really changed my perspective that these people who have very little, are the ones who gave the most. It was really cool realizing that," Falconer said.
While in Finland, she visited schools to promote the importance of education. Meanwhile, her projects in Czech Republic and Hungary were focused on social inequality issues.
She stepped out of her comfort zone in Nepal, where she had to hike for almost two days before reaching a rural area to teach farmers about sustainable farming.