YDEP Empowers You!/YDEP te fortaleza!

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Hola! que tal?

Andrea and Laila here, and we are in Colombia!!! Early Tuesday morning we were on an 11 hour flight to Colombia’s capital Bogotá, where we spent 4 days in the Red Cross National headquarters, getting to know the people working there, and also learning about the youth organisation from a broader perspective before traveling to Cartagena in the Red Cross Bolivar-the city that will be our home for the next nine months. 

Since starting the job as Red Cross Youth Delegates, something that has surprised us a lot is the significant number of people that cross our path within the organization who are former Youth Delegates! From the National headquarters in Oslo to Bogota…they are everywhere! Hearing their stories has been very inspirational to us, and so we would like to share with you the stories of two people we met during our days in Bogota.

Meet the President of Colombia Red Cross Youth and the National Coordinator of Youth Silvia Gélvez and Maria Paula Espitia, they are both former Youth Delegates in Norway!!

Meet Silvia!

Back in 2014, Silvia travelled from her local Red Cross branch in Santander Colombia to the local Red Cross branch Akershus Norway, where she was as Youth Delegate for a total of nine months together with her then “co-delegate” Franco. Today, Silvia is the President of the Colombian Red Cross Youth!

When Silvia was a youth volunteer in Santander, she met Merete and Agniesca who were Youth Delegates in the Santander district. Their work inspired Silvia’s wish to become a youth delegate herself! Silvia applied 3 times before she was finally selected to go to Norway together with Franco. Before traveling to Norway, Silvia was studying chemistry. However, Silvia tells us that she had always had a wish to work within the humanitarian field, and so in 2016 she decided to change her path completely-and started to study International Relations, in which she will have completed a 5-year bachelor degree by next year. In 2017, Silvia ran for the position as Youth President-:”I have all that is needed to be the Youth president, skills, experience, and I know what needs to be changed in the organizational structure…Ydep taught me a lot, it empowered me!”. Now Silvia dreams even bigger! She recently applied to become the member of the global Youth Commision in the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement which is a board for youths all over the world who represent the youth globally. 

Meet Maria Paula!

Maria Paula has been a youth volunteer for over 9 years in her local red cross youth district in Tolima Colombia. Two years ago, she travelled from Tolima to Skien in Norway, where she completed her mission as a Youth Delegate. When Maria Paula returned to Colombia after her time as a Youth Delegate, she became a director of youth volunteers in her home district of Tolima. Today she continues her work within the Red Cross...only a couple of weeks ago, she took the position as the National Coordinator of Youth in the Colombia Red Cross-where she plays a key role in structuring the Red Cross Youth Nationally. We asked Maria Paula why she wanted to become a Youth Delegate, and she answered that getting to know how a different National Society is structured is an opportunity, and it has taught her a lot! Maria Paula tells us that one of the best experiences that she had as a Youth Delegate in Norway was working with refugees, especially participating in the women's groups, and getting the chance to hear their stories. 

It has been so inspiring to meet two delegates who have done so well in the Colombian Red Cross. Especially since they told us the experience of being a youth delegate enabled them to contribute so much when their year was over. If it is one thing that we have learned so far, it is that going on an exchange empowers you!

Hope you enjoyed learning about their story as much as we did.

Nos hablamos!

Andrea and Laila

For Spanish, please scroll down/Por español, desplácese hacia abajo.

Silvia Gélvez to the left, and Maria Paula Espitia to the right.

Silvia Gélvez to the left, and Maria Paula Espitia to the right.

Hola! Que tal? 

Andrea y Laila aquí, y estamos en Colombia!! Martes temprano en la mañana estuvimos en un vuelo de 11 horas para el capital de Bogotá, donde pasamos 4 días en la sede principal de la Cruz Roja Colombiana, conociendo a la gente que trabaja allí, y también aprendiendo cómo funciona  la organización de jóvenes al nivel nacional, antes de ir a Cartagena en el seccional Bolívar, la ciudad donde vamos a vivir los próximos 9 meses. 

Desde que empezamos a trabajar como delegadas juveniles, algo que nos ha sorprendido es la cantidad de  gente en la organización que que han sido delegados juveniles en el pasado! Tanto en la sede nacional de Oslo que en la de Bogotá. Los delegados están de todos lados! Conocer a sus historias nos ha inspirado mucho, y por eso nos gustaría compartir la historia de dos personas que hemos conocido durante nuestros días en Bogotá. 

Les introducimos la presidente de juventud en la Cruz Roja Colombiana y la coordinadora nacional de juventud, Silvia Gélvez y Maria Paula Espitia, las dos ex-delegadas en Noruega!!

Conoce a Silvia!

En 2014, Silvia era voluntaria de juventud en Santander, donde conoció a Merete y Agniesca que eran delegadas en su seccional. Su trabajo hizo que Silvia también quería ser delegada.  Postuló tres veces antes de ser seleccionada con otro voluntario que se llama Franco. Antes de ir a Noruega, Silvia estudió címica. Sin embargo, Silvia nos contó que siempre ha querido trabajar en el campo humanitario, y por eso en 2016, cambió su ruta totalmente y empezó estudiar Relaciones Internacionales, y va a terminar su grado el próximo año. En 2017, Silvia postuló para el cargo de presidente de voluntarios de juventud: “En este momento tenía todo que se necesitaba por ser presidente de juventud, habilidades, experiencia, y también el comprensión de lo que se necesitaba cambiar en la estructura de la organización. El programa de YDEP me enseñó un montón, me fortaleció!” Y ahora los sueños de Silvia son hasta más grandes, porque recientemente postuló por ser miembro de la comisión global de jóvenes en la Federación Internacional de la Cruz Roja, que es un consejo de jóvenes de todo el mundo que representa juventud en la Cruz Roja al nivel global. 

Conoce a Maria Paula!

Maria Paula ha sido voluntaria de juventud por más de 9 años en su seccional local Tolima en Colombia. Hace 2 años, se fue de Tolima a Skien en Noruega, donde era delegada juvenil durante un año. Cuando regresó a Colombia después de su tiempo, se convirtió directora de voluntarios de juventud en su seccional Tolima. Hoy continua trabajar por la Cruz Roja… Hace solo unas semanas, empezó trabajar como Coordinadora Nacional de juventud en la Cruz Roja Colombiana, y por eso tiene papel clave en la organización de la estructura de la Cruz Roja de juventud al nivel nacional. Preguntamos a Maria Paula que hizo que queria ser delegada juvenil, y nos respondió que le interesaba mucho aprender cómo otra sociedad nacional está organizado, y le ha enseñado mucho! También nos cuenta que uno de sus mejores recuerdos como delegada era trabajar con refugiados, sobre todo en grupos de mujeres, y la oportunidad de conocer  sus historias. 

Nos ha inspirado tanto conocer a estas dos ex-delegadas que han tenido tanto éxito en la Cruz Roja Colombiana. Especialmente porque nos contaron que la experiencia de ser delegadas juveniles les permitió contribuir tanto después que sus años como delegadas se terminaron. Si hay una cosa que realmente hemos aprendido hasta ahora, es que hacer un intercambio te fortaleza! 

Esperamos que hayas disfrutado conocer sus historias tanto como nosotras. 

Nos hablamos! 

Andrea y Laila

BIENVENIDOS! WELCOME!

Hola! Qué tal?

Laila and Andrea here. We are excited to share our first blog post with you! On this blog we will share our experience as Youth Delegates in Colombia.

As Youth Delegates we are sent by the Norwegian Red Cross to take part in the Colombian Red Cross for 9 months. We will take part in the local branch of Cartagena, which is a city situated on the northern coast of Colombia.

In Cartagena we will work together with young volunteers in order to strengthen the position of youth within the organisation. Right now, we are learning the tools for doing so in a one-month long training in Norway with other Youth Delegates. The other delegates are either going to Kenya or coming from Colombia and Kenya to Norway.

We are already learning so much from this program and feel inspired to grow and learn much as possible!  In a year, when we have completed the program, we hope to be even more equipped to contribute in our local communities.

Since this is our first blog post, we would like to introduce ourselves a little bit.

Andrea is 23 years old and comes from the southern part of Norway. The last years she has been living in Bergen where she has completed a bachelor’s degree in comparative politics. In Bergen she was the leader of Buddy, a youth inclusion program within the Red Cross she helped develop. Andrea is currently leaning Spanish and is therefore often found engaged in conversation with the Colombian Youth Delegates or singing along to reggaeton songs.

Laila is 24 years old and comes from the eastern part of Norway. She recently finished her bachelor’s degree in development studies. In Oslo she volunteered in the Red Cross as a group leader and homework assistant in a youth centre called ORKIS. Laila is originally from Guatemala and therefore speaks Spanish. Laila loves deep conversations and is especially passionate about discussing environmental issues.

So that was a little bit about us! We look forward to updating you about our journey.

Nos hablamos!

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