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More than a dream: social change as a real possibility

Although my life is yet a very short one - I am only 18 years old - I believe I have already had some intense experiences, I have met diverse people and I have been to both wonderful and horrible places. After unveiling some of the non-obvious perceptions one can only find out after the open-minding process of being exposed to different realities, I can't separate my lifestyle and my daily choices from my convictions.

As a Brazilian girl from a middle class family, I have had access to a good education in a private school and I was surrounded by other children in the same situation. This comfortable world, however, was clearly limited by our school's walls, for the school was surrounded by a poor community in which nearly none of the basic needs were met: there was no sanitation at all and drug-dealing and violence were constantly present. The gap between us and the children from the community was huge and we could hardly see each other as human beings with equal rights. We were brought up unconsciously cultivating a culture of distance.

After I started volunteering as a teacher, I could really meet these 'other' children and destroy this stigma of 'strangers', and I realized this had to be changed. More than that: I realized that it could be changed. It was (and still is) more than a distant dream, it is a possibility. If the social injustices are product of a historical process of which we, humans, are protagonists, it is in our hands to revert this historical process in order to solve the problems we have created.

Anxious to make such changes happen, I started getting involved in several social projects. When entering the university, I chose to study Law, for I see it as an incredibly powerful tool to promote social justice, along with Sociology and Political Science.

The perception that poverty is changeable led me to a broader view, that included all kinds of social oppression. Gender inequality is one of these structural problems that bothers me the most. My commitment to the girls and women's cause was definitely sealed after I was selected as the Brazilian delegate for the G(irls) 20 Summit: a G-20 modeling, where I had the opportunity to denounce the problems women face in Brazil, find out about successful and innovative projects, debate with active girls from the other G-20 countries and elaborate, with them, a communiqué with recommendations on maternal health, economic opportunity and education that was handled to the actual G-20 leaders this year.

Among many other things, I realized after that how powerful our voices can be in shaping a better future. When I found out about the World Pulse and the VOF, I immediately felt I had to apply, once its mission, goals and values match mine and it is undoubtedly a great platform where we can hear and make ourselves heard, in a global scale.

Comments

jbaljko's picture

Wise beyond your years

Hi,
I read your post twice - not because it wasn't clear, but rather because I was surprised to be reading such an insightful and sage commentary from an 18 year old! Thais, you are wise beyond your years. These particular phrases "cultivating a culture of distance" and "destroy this stigma of strangers" really paints a picture of how class and gender inequality divide us universally, not just in Brazil. Thank you for taking a stand and being an advocate for change.
Best,
Jenn

"The secret of happiness is freedom,
and the secret of freedom, courage."
-Thucydides, ancient Greek historian & author

You have superior writing skills in English. It must be quite pleasing to you to feel empowered to lead change. Networking is such a big part of this Web 2.0 platform as it allow people to share their experiences and help each other to achieve successful outcomes in our communities.

I want to encourage you to review the activities that took place last week in New York at the UN Summit. There was a tremendous amount of new funding pledged for implementing a global strategy for women's and children's health. Follow this link http://www.un.org/en/mdg/summit2010/

Keep up your writing and build up your network which will help foster change.

deltaqueen's picture

Impressive!

Thais, I am impressed with your wisdom, your vision, and your courage to want and desire change, not only for yourself bur for your community. Many leadership roles start out as a volunteers. You have set the foundation for your future, for your communitys future. It is incredible that at such a young age you are able to acknowledge social classes, educational status and the need to formulate labels. I encourage you to not give up! Continue to grow yourself and your community.
It makes a "world of a difference".

Peace,
Shawanna

Deltaqueen

Thais Moraes's picture

Thank you for the support!

Thank you very much for the supportive comments and suggestions. It really encourages and motivates me to keep up doing what I love.

Thaís Moraes

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