Volunteer shares experiences from Colombia

Englisch Klasse vor YMCA Vereinshaus

Geraldine Maier, 24 years old, grew up with the YMCA (Cevi Meinisberg) in the canton of Bern. She is part of the Change Agent program, which trains young people from various YMCA's (Young Men's Christian Association) from around the world to participate in decision-making processes at the local, national and international levels. She has been traveling around the world for five years and during her stay in Colombia she visited the Horyzon project "Paza la Paz" where she supported the local partner organization YMCA Medellín as a volunteer. Geraldine shares her insight:

"During my four weeks of volunteering for the YMCA Medellín, I got to know two "Paza la Paz" youth groups personally. For almost 50 years, the YMCA Medellín has been committed to providing young people with a safe place where they are encouraged and given new perspectives. Various activities are offered in five different districts of Medellín, a metropolis of over a million inhabitants, which now directly reaches around 420 young people. "The Big Boss Dance" is the name of one such "Paza la Paz" youth group. The young people of "The Big Boss Dance" are not only supported by the project in their musical talents, but it also offers them a safe environment. In addition, regular workshops are held to discuss specific topics such as peacebuilding, and the youth learn practical skills for resolving conflicts. The importance of this safe place is inevitably made clear to me personally when I visit this youth group. The story of a young participant, who lost a friend the day before because she was shot, unexpectedly makes me aware of the brutal reality that still exists. It's just one among many stories that makes me aware of the value of Horyzon's support, which reaches Colombia through "Paza la Paz"."

Geraldine has also published her impressions in her column in the Bieler Tagblatt (german only).