Creating Change Despite the Challenges
Creating change in my community has been more challenging because of the language barrier between Dutch, the language of the country I now live in, and English, my native language. While I do speak and understand a decent amount of Dutch, not knowing the language to a native level has made getting more involved in the community more of a challenge than if the community had been an English speaking one.
It has also added a barrier to the aspect of unearthing a story. As I read through the journal entries of other participants, I am aware that the stories I can cover in the Netherlands are not as wide-ranging as those from a developing country or conflict zone. However, there are still stories here that need to be told. What lies beneath the relatively calm surface of the Netherlands is much more complex than many realize; from the discrimination faced by Turkish and Moroccan women to the stories of expat women who have come here for love, only to find themselves with very little support, rights and options when the relationship breaks down.
The solutions that I have used to help me overcome these challenges and barriers I face have included getting support from my Dutch speaking boyfriend, working hard to improve my own Dutch level and trying to get involved with groups and activities in the community. These are all areas that I plan to continue with.
I would, however, like to take this further through the support of Pulsewire. In just the three short weeks that I have been involved, I have found tremendous support and motivation amongst the group, both from their own personal stories and from the comments that they have left on my personal journal. The Resource Exchange looks to be an invaluable resource and one that I hope to be able to draw from and offer support to. Also, the community creates an inspiring resource and support system to create ideas and connect with others. I can only imagine how much more valuable research I would have been able to gather when completing my master’s dissertation on labelling in the Netherlands against Moroccan youth, had I had the connections and contacts found at Pulsewire.
I look forward to continuing to be part of the Pulsewire community in order to improve my own community and the communities of other Pulsewire women.