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One Young World: a life-changing experience

Luck, coincidence or fate? I will never really understand how I ended up in Switzerland to take part as a delegate speaker in One Young World. It is true that I had previous experiences in international youth events, but the application process for this one was quite different - in a way that made it less likely for me to be chosen.

First I had to create a profile in which they asked what I was passionate about as well as the reasons why I should be chosen as a delegate. This part was easy: I definitely know what I am passionate about and I was determined to convince them to choose me.

The hard part came afterwards: we had to find sponsorships. Honestly, I did not know who to turn to. I do not have many contacts in companies here nor am I familiar with these kind of procedure. So I emailed several development banks, non-governmental organizations and government agencies and my emails were either ignored or rejected.

The World Pulse team encouraged me a lot. (They even helped setting an online profile where I could receive donations. But let's just say that gathering 3,000 euros is not that easy.) I became more and more convinced that I would not be able to attend the conference. I was almost giving up on my fundraising efforts when I received an email from the event's organization saying that a South African company, Anglo Gold Ashanti, was interested in sponsoring a few people from different countries - among which: ME!

I could not believe the news! I was so excited that I had found a sponsor. I still do not understand why they chose me among so many other candidates with such incredible potential. So, after getting this sponsorship, I felt obliged to make the most of this life-changing opportunity. After all, competition was tight and someone else could have been selected instead of me.

When arriving in Switzerland, I was immediately stunned by how large the conference was. They actually had flags of One Young World on one of the main bridges of Zürich downtown. The summit managed to gather around 1,200 delegates, representing almost every single country on Earth.

It was a unique experience as I had never been exposed to such an international and diverse community of youths. The conference also counted on the presence of world leaders, who I would probably never have the chance to meet otherwise – such as Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver and the Crown Prince and Princess of Norway – who gave amazing and truly inspiring speeches.

I also had the chance to speak on the panel on Global Health. It was a whole new experience for me, because I had never spoken to such a large audience (and with so much media coverage!). In addition, I got the chance to speak to the world about a topic that is very close to my heart and very important in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole: maternal health.

To sum up, the whole experience was amazing and life-changing. I got back home with the energy I needed to promote the causes I believe are important here in Brazil. I came back home and worked on my projects with even more commitment. Now, in my (not so abundant) free time as a Law student, I coordinate an outreach university project on citizenship and human rights, write for an online magazine on women’s rights (Global Press Institute) and volunteer for an NGO (React & Change) on gender equality and youth participation.

At One Young World, I saw people my age who were really changing the world for the better. They were transformative forces in their communities and a source of inspiration for their own generation. I think the most important contribution that OYW gave to me and to all other delegates was to remind ourselves of the ever-present question: if all of them can do something to promote change, why can’t I? This is a driving force for us to compare our works and achievements and learn from each other how can we make this world a better place.


YAOtieno's picture


Hi Thais,

Thanks for sharing your experience on the challenges of fundraising. I am glad you never gave up! It was nice reading about your experience and keep up the energy as you continue with the university outreach project

And please do keep us updated!



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

ikirimat's picture

So inspiring

It is so encouraging and inspiring reading your experience. I am happy that your persistence and determination has yielded fruitful results.
I love to read more from you.Good luck

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

ola.mahadi's picture

Hi sister

I am glad to come to read your post thank you for sharing your experiance and glad that you made it to the confrence.
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