September 2, 2015
The National Council of Sierra Leone Young Christian Students (SL-YCS) has elected a new executive to man the affairs of the group for the next two years.
The election, which took place at the Pendembu Vocational Technical Secondary School (PVTSS) in the Upper Bambara Chiefdom, Kailahun District, ended with Mahota J. Jah – a second year student of the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College (FBC) – as National President. Francis Gandi, a third year B.Ed student at the Eastern Polytechnic, emerged as Secretary General, while Francis Kamara, a third year BSc. Economic Education student at Njala University, won the position of National Treasurer.
National Coordinator of SL-YCS Movement, Moses Sahr Lamin, said this year’s theme for the national congress and council programme is “Students Discovering God through Action and Reflection”, and that the participants were drawn mainly from secondary schools, colleges and universities across the country.
Giving an overview of the national congress and council, Lamin said YCS exists in 86 countries across the world and is recognized by the Catholic Church and has observer status with the UN and UNESCO.
In Sierra Leone, he said, YCS was established on 24th January, 1971 and that this is the first time an YCS activity was organized in Pendembu. “The council work will help to guide the activities of YCS at national and international levels,” he said, adding that the council is the decision-making body of the movement, and that Father Suma has been appointed to head the council.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Dennis Miller, the National Chaplain of YCSM Sacred Heart Cathedral, who is also the Assistant Administrator of Cathedral in Freetown, said YCS is a student movement run and owned by the students themselves. “Its fundamental goal is preferential option for the poor,” he added.
Fr. Miller said the movement is meant to re-orientate the youth and re-empower them because they are considered as agents of change, and for them to be able to bring about positive change in the society. For them to achieve all these good attributes, he said the students must be sharp and sober.
Raphael Yimga Tatchi, Program Officer, Africa International Programs Department, Canadian Catholic Organization, Development and Peace, said his organization is operating in both Anglophone and Francophone countries, and that YCSM in Sierra Leone is one of their work partners in the world.
According to him, leadership is important for the development of a country, noting that development work is not only to construct schools or formal education but also the mindset of the youth, adding that they support in constructing together to achieve the long-term goal of the movement.
“Supporting social justice is our foremost concern,” he concluded.
The facilitators of the National Council programme were Dr. Fr. Jusu Kanneh, Lawrence Babawo, and Abu Brima – the Executive Direction of NMJD, who is also an ex-YCSers, among others.