YANGON, Myanmar - The excitement was palpable as a group of young people patiently awaited the arrival of H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in the heart of Yangon on 10 January, 2014.
It was the first visit by the Crown Princess to the Youth Development Centre in Yangon, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Upon arrival, the Crown Princess, who is a Patron of UNFPA, was greeted by Ms. Janet Jackson, UNFPA's Representative in Myanmar. Denmark’s Minister for Development, Mr. Rasmus Helveg Petersen, Ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther, and a team of diplomats and media accompanied her during the visit.
“It is a special occasion for us when Crown Princess Mary takes the time to visit one of our youth programmes. It comes at a very important time for Myanmar," said Ms. Janet Jackson. "Her visit highlights the importance of young people's participation and inclusion amidst the changes that are happening."
"Young people are key in helping to set the tone for now and for the future," she added. "This gives added impetus to the work we do to ensure that every young person’s potential is fulfilled. It also confirms that we are on the right track in working closely with the Government of Myanmar to develop a youth policy to address youth issues nationwide.”
Inside the Youth Centre, Crown Princess Mary met with a group of more than 25 Myanmar youth to learn more about the problems they face. The Crown Princess spoke directly with the young people on issues related to sexual and reproductive health, subjects normally seen as taboo in Myanmar, and listened attentively to their views.
The group had spent days preparing for the visit. The centre was decorated with posters and banners, and the they rehearsed a specially choreographed dance which they performed for the Crown Princess. The dance is part of a visibility campaign which emphasizes the wish of youth to grow up in a safe environment, to be part of a HIV-free generation, and to highlight awareness about sexual health and HIV/AIDS.