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"I have recognized my own strengths»

Beatriz Pereira Silva is involved in the MePower project in Basel and in the International Youth Network (IYN) of terre des hommes switzerland. Her commitment also has to do with her plans and dreams for the future.  

You've been part of the MePower project for two and a half years now. How did you become aware of it?  

In the summer of 2020, I was made aware of the project by the contact point for sans-papier. I was told that it was an initiative specifically for young migrants. Since I had almost no friends who were migrants at that time, I was interested in the project. I was then invited by terre des hommes switzerland to a one-week camp in the Jura. During this week, I got to know many migrants with different stories, with whom I could strongly identify. The fact that the project was aimed exactly at us pleased me the most. I felt so special. In the camp, as the word MePower says, we did different activities that made me better understand and appreciate my one own power and values. I recognized and realized strengths in myself there that I had never been aware of. After the camp, we met in the MePower project once or twice a month at so-called regulars' tables. This gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and make friends. In addition, we always do awareness-raising work and talk about topics that are otherwise rarely discussed. That was and is very nice. It really is a wonderful project that I recommend to all migrants in Basel.  

Now you are also involved in the International Youth Network (IYN) of terre des hommes switzerland. What do you do in the IYN and what is your motivation to get involved?  

We have a monthly meeting with all delegates from the countries where terre des hommes switzerland supports projects. In the meetings we discuss what we can organize together with the young people. During these meetings, we exchange ideas and talk about our experiences and whether certain activities could be carried out in the same way in the other countries. For example, in November was Global Action Month (GAM) and all the countries from IYN did different activities on this year's theme "Say no to violence, break the silence". In certain countries, young people took to the streets and demonstrated. We in Switzerland put on a play this year. Last year, we did a podcast. In another country, young people went to schools and raised awareness about the issue. Each country had its own ideas. Why I'm involved with the IYN has to do with my plans and dreams for the future.  

What are your plans and dreams for the future?  

My plan or dream is to eventually have financial stability so that I can decide for myself when I am where. Because I would love to help other people. I was born in Brazil and there is great inequality there. I was also recently in Africa for the first time, in Angola, and I also saw the extreme inequality there. That had a big impact on me and I would like to change that. I am involved with the IYN because the organization focuses on young people, as they are the future. I always say that you can't change the world directly, but you can change the world of individuals. For example, if I change your world, you can change someone else's and so on.  

The interview was conducted by Nicolas Staehelin, former community service worker at terre des hommes switzerland. Further information at:  www.tdhs.ch/IYN  

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