Luxury of Being Young
The world’s great activists started once with small but certain steps. One doesn’t see Valeria Svart too much around because she is running like a bee always with her positive attitude and motivating others. One feels that everything is wonderful when she enters the office with that special smile and a very creative belly dance outfit...
At her 20s she studies Environment at the State University of Moldova and teaches belly dancing. Not a typical representative of a Moldova women, being half Georgian and half Jewish by ethnicity she learned Russian in school, English in the USA Program for a year and Romanian language back in the University stating: “That is very important for a Moldovan woman”.
She works with American Councils, and realizes some projects, being socially engaged in diverse activities. From small ecological awareness projects, she traveled with a projector out to sites and showed Al Gore’s documentary on global warming “An inconvenient truth”. She recruited inspired volunteers and organized events like planting trees and bicycle project, where some brave people dared to show that riding a bicycle in the capital of Moldova is a luxury and still a crazy idea but with a nice beginning and a future continuity.
Due to her mother’s effort in teaching biology the whole class was very involved in diverse ecological activities. First she learned about environment from her family and through researches and practical activities. Valeria hopes that more mothers will try and pass such an attitude to their children. She thinks ecology and environment should be mandatory at schools and universities.
Today she runs the “Ecological Association for Children and Youth” where she was involved for 9 years as a volunteer. Since the age of 11 she would always help the main leader of this NGO and later she was trusted with the right to be a leader herself.
Valeria can’t imagine her entire life in a laboratory. But she thinks she posses enough communicative and interpersonal skills in order to help people organize their activities and make their ideas come true. “Environment is a field that is absolutely not developed in Moldova and there are some drastic problems going on now”. Looking for solutions she oriented herself in work with awakening the consciousness of people. “Usually people don’t think about waste management, about how they use water, electricity; they really don’t have time or wish to think.”
Valeria noticed the habit of people to accumulate all the garbage but do nothing with it. The quality of water was below standard levels and people were not allowed to swim in lakes or rivers. Valeria also mentioned that in Europe or States people can drink water just from the faucet, but unfortunately they don’t value it. They still bye water in bottles and produce a lot of plastic waste. Improving drinking water quality that comes from the faucet, people’s health could be less affected.
With the decreased level of environment she said that Moldova was actually better than most regions of India but she did not like to compare: “Comparing with the worse is not the solution, we should look up to better standards and hope to improve the quality of life.”
Yet, the secret of all she does comes from the fact that she has always been trying to have a harmonious path of development. Finding herself in Baha’i Faith she discovered motivation for the personal development. Based on 3 basic principles this faith works with development of mind, soul and body: “I have my faith for my soul, my work and studies for my mind, and I need something to develop my body. Thus, Belly Dancing helped me raise my awareness on my femininity and I decided to choose activity for my health”
Learning belly dance when she was 14 she discovered later that she was good enough to share her skills with new people. Many were excited to learn and constantly asked her about having private lessons. On growing demand of people she asked herself “Why don’t I make a belly dance group?”
At 18 she started her first belly dance group, lately performing at events and renting a place for more practice. “I felt amazing changes in the women that came to my class; one women who came to my first class with her shoulders down, telling she hated men within a short time lost weight through dancing, becoming more aware of herself and meeting the partner of her life. I didn’t do anything to her, I was there as the resource and it was her choice – to take and to learn it from me, and to discover her inner self through me.”
Valeria is convinced that a person should be paid for the time and effort, and even though she is very comfortable with volunteering, “one can’t be a volunteer for entire life, one must bring some living” she stated, so she knows when she can be a volunteer and when she can be paid.
At the end of conversation she was still reflecting upon some thoughts:
“Right now I am glad that I am still young and I can allow myself doing many interesting things because later I must specialize and be a good professional. In my 20s I get a lot of interesting diverse experiences, some project in business and environment, languages, I am involved in the development of a tourist guide in German for Moldova and some other smaller charity activities with orphanages and centers for disabled children.
All this time I was trying to be active in different fields in our society in order to realize which one should I become a professional at. I decided to choose environment and education. I hope that after my study in Germany I will be able to implement higher level of projects, which will benefit our society much more than what I can do now.”
…small steps…Luxury of being young, at her 20’s, here and now…
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.