Discover the world with ECPAT Luxembourg !
vendredi 19 mai 2017 à 04:00
Jennifer and Helenice are ECPAT Luxembourg’s first two international volunteers. They have just left their comfort zone to volunteer for ECPAT Luxembourg in Cape Verde.
Although they arrived in Cape Verde last month, they feel as though they have been there for more than three. People around them are friendly, helpful and hospitable but it takes time before the new place feels like home. Jennifer and Helenice were quite lucky to meet Vesna, who provided them with advice on “do’s” and “don’ts”. From former stays they already knew that life slower than what they are used to. Jennifer’s and Helenice’s parents are originally from Cape Verde so they are already familiar with the country but living there is different from just visiting. Cape Verde is known for the different landscapes of its islands, but the language can also vary between the islands. Our volunteers both speak Portuguese and Creole but they still sometimes have trouble understanding the local dialects.
Jennifer and Helenice are volunteering for ECPAT Luxembourg’s partner ACRIDES. ACRIDES runs two day centres that provide support to approximately 130 vulnerable children. The girls have joined ACRIDES’ existing team of Cape Verdean volunteers that help children with their homework, provide additional lessons to complement their schooling and organise recreational activities.
Helenice and Jennifer are also both artistic and enjoy developing creative projects with children. In addition to working in ACRIDES’ day centres, they will develop a project called “A silent book for a loud mind”. The project aims to create a space in which a group of children or young people can express themselves around a theme through art and dance. The result will be a book of illustrations that will be used to raise public awareness as well as funds for ACRIDES. The girls are currently focusing on familiarising themselves with their new working environment and surroundings before putting the project into action, as it is important to adapt their ideas and activities to the local context.
Finally, Helenice and Jennifer will also have the opportunity to get involved in the project that ECPAT Luxembourg has developed with ACRIDES, ICCA and ECPAT Brazil. This means that they will have the chance to take part in the training provided and use their creative skills to provide support to awareness raising.
It is always a challenge adapting to a new environment and a different culture. One issue that makes Helenice and Jennifer feel uncomfortable is the fact that they are often chatted up by boys and men, who whistle or whisper, “You’re so tasty”. This kind of disrespectful behaviour reflects a very different attitude towards women. Sexual violence and exploitation does not take place in a vacuum but takes place within a context. The societies we live in shape our perceptions and attitudes and can create an environment in which sexual violence is tolerated or encouraged. This is why raising public awareness is a crucial part of ECPAT Luxembourg’s strategy.
And the two women realised that they have to fight to progress in with their daily problems. There is no one who waits for them with easy solutions. If you want to advance in your work don’t delegate the work – just do it yourself.
Nevertheless, even if there are aspects of daily life that drive them crazy, the two adventurers are proud of their culture and identify with the term "Morabeza" that characterises the Cape Verdean people as open-spirited, welcoming, hospitable and relaxed. Although the local population may have modest means, it will do all in its power to make strangers feel welcome and comfortable.
It will definitely be an amazing year for Jennifer and Helenice. You can follow them on https://www.facebook.com/sblm.jh/
Communiqué par ECPAT Luxembourg