Student Leaders in Brazil & Panama Volunteer to Empower Marginalized Communities

Author: 
Vander Finnoti Bosco, PartnersCampus Student, Brazil

With our vision in mind of “development through empowerment,” PartnersCampus Goiânia (GYN) has focused on projects that empower people in their local community. We started with a single project, the Walking Library Project, which focused on empowering our community through literature. Thanks to the book donations that we receive in many languages (including Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French), our bi-lingual and tri-lingual volunteers are able to read the books in their original languages and then translate them into Portuguese so that they are more accessible and easily understood by members of our community. Books transcend all socio norms and attract everyone from children and teens to adults, allowing us to have a greater impact.

Then we got bigger, and as a result had more partners, projects, members, and volunteers that wanted to work with us. Nowadays we have projects that empower cis and transgender women, refugees and immigrants, and empowerment through English teaching, among others. The idea to work with women and people that identify as cis and transgender came from different projects implemented in Mexico and Brazil, so PartnersCampus GYN decided to put both ideas into one project aimed to empower ALL women. The name of this project, “Survivors” is not something that labels these specific women, instead it speaks to something broader, which is that all women are survivors for all that they go through

Finally, we also partnered with PartnersCampus Panamá to implement one of their most successful projects—The Partners Girls Empowerment Project (PGE Project). The PGE Project was created by Maria Cristina Osorio and has the main objectives of: educating the female population on the search and realization of goals, empowering young women with didactic tools to develop their skills, and preventing social problems that affect young women in their professional development. With Maria Cristina’s support, PartnersCampus GYN will adopt this program this year and implement it to serve Brazilian girls from public schools. The Partners Girls Empowerment Project caught our attention because it fit so well with our mission and vision for our student chapter. The main difference between Panama and Brazil will be that the project will embrace girls from Brazilian public schools, meaning that some of the social and cultural experiences that were applicable in Panamá will have to change to be adapted to fit with the reality and current circumstances that Brazilian adolescent girls in public schools endure.​

Thus, PartnersCampus GYN may be the youngest chapter in the Partners of the Americas Network, but we are growing up fast and strong, which makes us believe that we are really capable to help our local community, even more so than we thought we could when we first began.  

For more information on PartnersCampus GYN, please visit our Facebook page.

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