Agita Kaupuža


During the last days of the year the European meeting of Young Adults organized by Taizé Community is taking place in Riga, Latvia. For the first time this event is taking place in the Baltic country, and 15 000 young people are arriving for the pilgrimage of trust, searching for the hope during the times, when many people in our countries are discouraged by violence in all its ways. All of 15 000 are welcomed in families, who are opening the doors of their homes and sharing with what they have, some having more, some less. With this action I can trace the parallels with achieving the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, especially the ones related to poverty, hunger, peace and partnership for goals.


Latvia is not among the richest European Union’s Member states. In 2014 30.9% of inhabitants were at the risk of poverty or social exclusion. However, when welcoming youth for the Taizé event in Riga, families were ready to share with what they had not only their homes, but also meals prepared with love and care. “When I saw the families coming to the church to pick up their guests, I was so impressed, how excited and joyful they were! People have cooked our traditional meals, cakes, desserts, they were preparing and indeed waiting for the youth,” told one of the organizers of Taizé event in Riga. Another said that the youth coming to Riga were ready not just to take and enjoy, but to share with their culture and warm-heartedness as well: “We were welcoming at our home two young girls from the Ukraine, and they had prepared for us self-made wool socks and Ukrainian sweets. Now we are invited to visit them in Kiev!”


It goes without saying, that discussions involving our civil society on localization of 17 sustainable development goals are necessary, and the right choice has to be done, how and which aims to include in national planning and funding framework. But maybe in parallel we shouldn’t forget, that there is another way, how to make our lives better, the way shown by our hearts?

Agita Kaupuža

The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.