Funding shortfalls shutter Canada World Youth after more than 50 years

Pandemic, funding shortfalls end half a century of connecting young Canadians with youth around the world

Why It Matters

The COVID-19 pandemic shut international borders and built silos at home. Programs that break down regional barriers and build international co-operation are needed now more than ever.

Viviane Schami and her Indonesian exchange counterpart, Ansye Sopacua, meet in Vancouver in 1988. Photo: Courtesy of Viviane Schami.

Viviane Schami was 20 years old when she boarded a plane for the first time; it was the fall of 1988 and the curious Quebecer was participating in a Canada World Youth program that would forever change her life.

“I was originally accepted to go to Pakistan, but they didn’t have enough participants there, so they said you’re going to Indonesia instead,” she said. “My life wouldn’t have unfolded the way it did if not for this program, this change.”

Schami met her Indonesian counterpart in British Columbia, where they lived and volunteered at a fruit packing co-op before heading to a rural community in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province to volunteer with community organizations and learn about the regional cu

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