Published: 12.05.2022

On 12 May, 25 students from the Liberec region will receive their bronze and silver awards for their performance in the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (DofE) programme, which was founded 66 years ago by Prince Philip, at the North Bohemian Museum in Liberec. These young people spent between 6 and 12 months volunteering, playing sport, developing their skills and finishing with a multi-day expedition in the countryside.

Participation in the programme, which now operates in 130 countries worldwide and is completed by 1.3 million young people a year, including more than 5 000 Czechs, has helped many to overcome difficult lockdown periods and to spend time actively despite their circumstances. "During the pandemic, the participants organized collections for hospitals and nursing homes, sewed drapes, brought food to the sick, cleaned up garbage or helped with the EPP app. In recent months, many of them have also been involved in helping people fleeing the war in Ukraine. It's a pleasure to see how young people are learning to become more responsible and responsive to the world around them through their participation in the programme." says Tomáš Vokáč, Executive Director of DofE in the Czech Republic.

This is confirmed by Anežka Kirschnerová from the Česká Lípa Gymnasium, who tutored two girls from a small village class in mathematics and Czech as part of DofE volunteering. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she had to discontinue this activity and instead sewed veils, which she then sent to those in need, and made videos about their creation. She comments on her participation in the program by saying: "The idea of the DofE caught my attention at the first lecture we had about the programme at school. The DofE made me want to get on with things that I might not otherwise have started or had the will or motivation to do regularly."

"The Liberec Region concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation with the DofE programme in 2020. Eight schools established by the Liberec Region are now involved in the programme. I am glad that the pupils of the schools are interested in the programme and are engaged in what interests them. They are learning a new foreign language, developing presentation skills and playing musical instruments. They can improve in running or team sports. The volunteering area is part of the program in which they get involved in helping their community. In short, they are better prepared for their future professional life," says Dan Ramzer, Deputy Governor of the Liberec Region for Education, Youth, Sports and Sports.  

The students will receive their awards a few weeks after the DofE National Centre, in collaboration with the Central Bohemia Region and the Partnership Foundation, planted 100 lime trees in Vestec near Prague, creating the unique Prince Philip Alley. The avenue was created in honour of Prince Philip's 100th birthday, which he would have celebrated last year.

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