Commonwealth Point of Light 33 . Itinterunga Rae Bainteiti
Itinterunga Rae Bainteiti, representing Kiribati, is a leading national advocate for youth engagement, providing training opportunities and activities for young people to tackle climate change.
Working with local CEOs, High Commissioners, Government of Kiribati and UN agencies to support the network’s initiatives, Itinterunga has designed youth-led projects which use drama and music lessons as a way of educating young people on the importance of various issues that affect them such as climate change and corruption. He also helped developed the Kiribati chapter of the ‘Pacific Youth Forum against Anti-Corruption’ and contribute to regional and international conferences advocating on behalf of Kiribati youths.
Itinterunga Rae Bainteiti said:
“I am humbled to receive this special recognition by Her Majesty The Queen. I firstly acknowledge the presence of our God who is our Creator. I also acknowledge friends, colleagues and families (in Kiribati and abroad), who are my source of
inspiration to always have an optimistic outlook in life. My special thanks to Tearinaki Tanielu, for nominating me for this award. I have realized just how important this work is, in sharing and prolonging a light of hope for many whom we are in their service.
“Volunteering for desired goals and causes, for me, is time well spent and invested in efforts to inspire young people to follow through and reach the goals they set for themselves. I often think that the highest calling is voluntary work in the quest to improve the livelihoods of people. A simple thank you, is the biggest remuneration you only get in this line of work. In fact, today I still closely hold this belief.
The gift of sharing has been instilled in me since childhood – I always like to give and be of service to others – not to impress them – but because of the belief I hold that giving and being of service to those in need is a blessing in disguise. You can in fact change a person’s life with a simple act of kindness. Voluntary work is something that got me up in the morning for many years. Why do I keep doing it without getting paid? I believe that with little things you can do with time, resources and energy you have as a young person, you can make significant changes on people and communities. It is a challenging position indeed, but it has strengthened me to persevere when confronted by obstacles in the event of working your way to achieve mutual goals to make positive changes.
“I want every person to thrive because I believe that their success is our success, as families, communities and nations. To all volunteers out there working in the field – if there was a lesson that I have learnt from my experience over the years, I would say – take care of yourself before you can take care of others and just keep up the brilliant work that you do. Kiribati’s blessing of Good Health (Te Mauri), Peace (Te Raoi) ao te Tabomoa (Prosperity).”
Melanie Hopkins, UK High Commissioner in Kiribati, said:
“I am pleased to see that Itinterunga Rae has been awarded the Commonwealth Point of Light award for Kiribati. His strong endorsement for volunteer work is really amazing, with his positive look to life and how he aims to inspire the young people of Kiribati through his work.
“Young people play a vital role in the Commonwealth. Across the Commonwealth, there are one billion young people spanning 52 countries. The British Government is looking forward to hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in April 2018 and we want to hear from young people in the Pacific who can get involved through the Commonwealth Youth Forum. The Forum provides an opportunity to young people to have a voice and agree youth-lead initiatives that can help influence decision makers when they meet in London.”