Tomorrow's Voices 2020: 100 young people from 4 continents discuss internet access, digital learning platforms and mental pressure in corona times

The fourth edition of ‘Tomorrow's Voices’, an annual event organised by Colruyt Group’s corporate fund Collibri Foundation, took place on Saturday 17 October. This was the first time the event was organised in a digital format and no less than 14 international training projects took part. Even in corona times, Collibri Foundation continues to focus on education and training for youths in vulnerable environments around the world. The company fund invested more than 800,000 euros in the training projects, one fifth of this amount was raised through customer and staff actions. During the ‘Round up’ campaign, for example, which ran in the shops until 20 October, 62.520 euros was collected.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Young people from 4 continents together think about the future

More than 100 young people participated in the meeting event organised by Collibri Foundation (together with partners such as Boost, Mentor-Escale, YOUCA, Rikolto and Trias, the full list is available below). Based in different time zones, youngsters from Belgium, Africa, Asia and South America came together virtually to exchange ideas and cultures, make connections and learn from each other. The event is a unique opportunity to be part of a worldwide network of motivated young people.

The corona crisis meant that the annual meeting day could not physically take place in Belgium, but had to be organised in digital format for the first time. Collibri Foundation made a virtue of necessity by inviting even more participants to this fourth edition. 100 youngsters - twice as many as last year - from 14 international projects took part.

Digital living and learning in corona times

The theme of the day was obvious and could not be more topical: digital living & learning. The digital natives make easy use of online learning platforms and digital tools to stay in touch with their classmates, friends and community. Yet, young people from all over the world face similar challenges when it comes to their education and studies. Those who take lessons online find it more difficult to ask for help and to understand the subject matter well. Young people are struggling with questions about how to stay focused, motivated and productive. More existential thoughts also pop up during Tomorrow's Voices: a feeling of absurdity to have to study for a test while we are in the middle of a pandemic.

What we sometimes forget in Belgium is that easy access to the internet is not so obvious everywhere in the world. The young people from Benin, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil and Peru remind us that many people have to travel in order to access the internet. Continuing your studies in corona times is not always easy to do in this situation. In Indonesia, young people work on group works late in the evening because that’s when the network is less congested. In Belgium too, not everyone has their own personal laptop or access to the internet.

During Tomorrow's Voices the youngsters share their experiences and practical tips to live and study digitally. From digital study groups and platforms where they find answers to all their school questions (Socratic), to apps that help them concentrate (Forest). “The need for connection is great,” says Mieke Vercaeren, manager of Collibri Foundation. “This is precisely why it is so important that Collibri Foundation's annual meeting day brings together young people from all over the world, allowing them to exchange stories, connect with each other and have an eye for common ground. Thanks to this moment of knowledge sharing, we at Collibri Foundation also gain insight into how we can support the projects even better in terms of training and education, adapted to the current situation.”

Financial support for the education and training of young people in Belgium and abroad

As a Colruyt Group corporate fund, Collibri Foundation has supported training projects for young people in difficult situations for over 15 years now, both in Belgium and in developing countries where Colruyt Group buys its products. Today Collibri Foundation has 14 training projects, in 10 countries. In this way, more than 6,500 young people were directly reached in 2019. In 2019, Collibri Foundation invested 808,593 euros in the projects.

Customers and employees are also invited to contribute to the projects through various actions, such as the purchase of Boni-chocolate and ice creams and the ‘rounded up’ bills. Last year, more than 140,000 euros was raised this way. Until Tuesday 20 October, a ‘Round up’ campaign was ongoing in the stores. Customers at Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay, Bio-Planet, Dreamland and Dreambaby could round up their bill at the cash register for a maximum of 1 euro. The action raised 62.520 euros.

List of all projects and attendees at the Collibri Foundation digital event: 

Boost (Belgium)
​ Mentor Escale (Belgium)
​ YOUCA (Belgium)
​ Eclosio (Benin)
​ UCLL (Benin)
​ Trias (Brazil)
​ Adisco (Burundi)
​ Efico (Colombia)
​ CYC (Philippines)
​ Nasscom Foundation (India)
​ Partners in Prosperity (India)
​ YKAI (Indonesia)
​ Rikolto (Nicaragua)
​ Jovem (Peru)