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My wonderful travel to India — Youth for Honduras fighting for women’s rights

Posted by on Nov 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments
My wonderful travel to India — Youth for Honduras fighting for women’s rights

By José Ramón López, staff at Youth for Hon­duras

 

From Oc­to­ber 8th-18th I had the amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ty to rep­re­sent Youth for Hon­duras in the city Vi­jayawa­da in In­dia. Here, I met with our new part­ners in Step up for Rights of Fe­males (SURF).

The SURF col­lab­o­ra­tion is an ini­tia­tive to fight for gen­der equal­i­ty and less dis­crim­i­na­tion against women around the world. It was won­der­ful to gath­er on this top­ic with peo­ple from four dif­fer­ent parts of the world: Lithua­nia, Sene­gal, In­dia, and Hon­duras. The pur­pose of our meet­ing in In­dia was to re­ceive train­ing on women’s rights and women’s em­pow­er­ment and equal­ly in­spire and ex­change ideas.

Our youth in Youth for Hon­duras are fac­ing many chal­lenges in the Hon­duran so­ci­ety, but through the in­spi­ra­tional work­shops with SURF we now have bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port our young women and en­cour­age them to make their way in life.

Per­son­al­ly, I had nev­er imag­ined to go on such a long trip in my life to a place with such a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, food, re­li­gion, en­vi­ron­ment and lan­guage. It was chal­leng­ing, yet very ex­cit­ing be­cause I learned a lot, met new friends, and brought back home new re­flec­tions and con­clu­sions.

 

Train­ing in an in­ter­na­tion­al set­ting

There are es­pe­cial­ly three things from our train­ing ses­sions that got my at­ten­tion and made me re­flect.

First and fore­most, we went through some in­ter­na­tion­al laws on women´s rights that are cre­at­ed to pro­tect women from vi­o­lence and some types of dis­crim­i­na­tions that they can suf­fer both at home, at their jobs, or in the so­ci­ety. In com­par­i­son to for ex­am­ple In­dia, Hon­duras has de­vel­oped in a very pos­i­tive way on this mat­ter, but we are still fac­ing se­vere prob­lems such as femi­cide and machis­mo.

Sec­ond­ly, we were in­tro­duced to video ma­te­ri­als about the 17 sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals that the UN has de­fined. We saw some cas­es in African and Asian coun­tries where UN strate­gies and ap­proach­es re­gard­ing women’s em­pow­er­ment have been car­ried out with suc­cess. The main fo­cus was to make sure that the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties de­pend on them­selves and not on ex­ter­nal help. I was very in­spired to im­i­tate this in Hon­duras.

Fi­nal­ly, in teams de­pend­ing on our na­tion­al­i­ties we cre­at­ed small­er projects in or­der to be­gin the process of women’s em­pow­er­ment in our com­mu­ni­ties. In the Hon­duras team we be­gan plan­ning work­shops for women in the area of Siguate­peque who cul­ti­vate cof­fee. It was in­ter­est­ing to hear about the oth­er teams’ projects too be­cause in some cas­es we have very dif­fer­ent ne­ces­si­ties.

I re­al­ly en­joyed get­ting to know peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al back­grounds and watch our dif­fer­ences. The peo­ple from Lithua­nia were very kind and friend­ly. De­spite their young age they knew what they were do­ing and were smart peo­ple. The Sene­galese were very friend­ly and fun­ny and I talked a lot with them about our lives, cul­tures, and tra­di­tions. The In­di­ans were very qui­et peo­ple but they were very hos­pitable.

How­ev­er, among us ex­ist­ed some­thing much more im­por­tant to men­tion, some­thing that joined us de­spite our four dif­fer­ent iden­ti­ties: The love and will to serve and help oth­ers. It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to be unit­ed on these val­ues!

 

Down­town Vi­jayawa­da

Walk­ing and dri­ving through the streets of Vi­jayawa­da was an im­pres­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. I first and fore­most no­ticed what I would call dis­or­der: noisy busses, mo­tor­bikes and small taxis try­ing to find their way through slow­ly mov­ing peo­ple in a place which was both a cross­road and a mar­ket­place. And no traf­fic lights guid­ed us safe­ly through the chaos!

The In­di­an cul­ture left a huge im­pact on me, es­pe­cial­ly con­cern­ing re­li­gious mat­ters. Most In­di­ans are Hin­dus, but you can also find for ex­am­ple Mus­lims, Chris­tians, Bud­dhists, and var­i­ous mi­nor re­li­gious groups. In gen­er­al, In­di­ans were not afraid to show their re­li­gios­i­ty every­where any­time. I saw peo­ple with dif­fer­ent re­li­gions wor­ship­ping each their god in the same place. Also, in their busi­ness­es and work­ing places peo­ple paused their dai­ly ac­tiv­i­ties to turn to their de­ity.

One night at the ho­tel where we stayed, a Hin­du cou­ple got mar­ried. As for­eign­ers we were im­me­di­ate­ly in­vit­ed to join their wed­ding par­ty. I even had the joy­ful ex­pe­ri­ence of be­com­ing a wit­ness at the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny! In­di­an wed­ding par­ties are much more danc­ing than ours. The sweet scent of in­cense float­ed every­where and flow­ers dec­o­rat­ed every cor­ner of the scenery. How­ev­er, to my sur­prise the cou­ple in ques­tion did not show much af­fec­tion to­wards each oth­er.

We were also giv­en the fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ty to vis­it lo­cal children’s projects and share a mo­ment with the won­der­ful chil­dren there. One of the projects was an or­phan­age and school for blind chil­dren and here we did some sport ac­tiv­i­ties. An­oth­er place was a refugium for traf­ficked girls. Here we also made ac­tiv­i­ties to bring joy to the young­sters.

Fi­nal thoughts

I feel so blessed to have seen, smelled, and tast­ed an­oth­er part of our plan­et. Al­though the tast­ing part of it put me in many dilem­mas (which I solved in the Amer­i­can food sec­tion of the su­per mar­ket).

And I feel so proud to have rep­re­sent­ed Hon­duras and Youth for Hon­duras in a far­away coun­try like In­dia on such im­por­tant mat­ters as women’s rights and em­pow­er­ment. I re­al­ly hope this rel­a­tive­ly short meet­ing in In­dia can cre­ate huge things and make a dif­fer­ence for the women of dif­fer­ent coun­tries who need it the most!

 

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