14 July, 2021

Change Makers online event

How it went

Change Makers was organised as a follow-up action of the FLOW training by volunteers of different SCI branches: Judith, Dora, Romain and Hasna (VIA Netherlands, SCI Hellas, SCI Switzerland and International Secretariat) met weekly to discuss and learn about teamwork dynamics and the process of decision making, discovering that disagreement is better than agreement and, of course, having a lot of fun while preparing the event!

Change Makers was based on the Living Library concept, where people got in touch with stories about social and environmental justice. The purpose of that event was to connect at the most basic level, to ensure diversity of personal experience from storytellers with the goal of being as inclusive as possible for both the story tellers and the ‘readers’, so the people who attend the event and listen to the story. We were so lucky to get in touch with those amazing changemakers who shared their unique experience and answered the participants’ questions, so here we want to thank them all for their contributions!

The first one was Ana Isabel Fión Ruiz from Guatemala who talked about Food sovereignty in Mesoamerica, her experience in co-funding a network of educators in this topic and the challenges they find within a territory invaded by monocultures. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from the cultural context and the indigenous reality in the area.

Right after that, journalist Ahmed Fares spoke from Athens explaining what Female Genital Mutilation is and his experience in a local action, in order to deal with this terrible reality through creating awareness for the people who practice FGM. It was extremely interesting and we realised how to get more impact from small actions when it is in the right place and at the right moment to promote such a cultural change.

The second day we had Adama Cherif who told us about his migration over different African countries; a very touching story told in detail that got us closer and more involved in the refugee context. For sure each one’s personal path has a million beautiful and interesting things to share and we defend the right of their voices to be heard all over the world.

We ended the day with Jonathan Healy bringing us to discover squatting as a political need. From the housing situation in Ireland in terms of human rights and his experience in all kinds of squats, observing the different legal contexts in Europe, he compared the strength and the weakness of the anti-system and anarchist movement, based on the practical and daily issues of the movement. That session was very surprising and motivating for us to see that it is possible to change unfair realities by knowing the law and our rights, by being aware of how to take action responsibly and creating safe spaces.

On the last day of Change Makers we had a special Spanish edition of the musical group Maix, from Guatemala once again, who explained the current situation in their area, how they defend the indigenous rights to their land through music and we even had the chance to have a short live concert! The pandemic had terrible consequences for artists and performances, so we want to give them the chance to reach some new listeners: you can find them on Youtube and Spotify.

And last but not least, actually the most successful end we could have for the Change Makers event was the story of Senka Nenadov. Instead of presenting the reality of a “Person with physical disability” as a monologue, she interacted with the participants and shared her personal experience through their questions. Senka knows how to talk about the deepest aspects of personal assistance and love needs in a very natural way, with no taboos! In fact, she gave visibility in a real human exchange: chatting, laughing and being clear about the micro-aggressions of ableism. She has an incredible sense of humour as a tool to deal with those uncomfortable situations and we are so grateful she expressed this personal view to all of us.

Afterwards, we at the Change Makers volunteering team decided to meet again for a second edition of the event. From this experience we realised how important it is to spread the viewpoint of those living the situation in person, to create awareness and learn from others, to put in contact people who work on the same topics, to provide an accessible space for everyone who wants to contribute and share with others about how to change the world.

So we wish you a very happy summer and we hope to see you after the holidays, because Change Makers is not ending here!

By Dora Ronconi – SCI Hellas

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