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Voices

Together We Can Be Better

Girl Up Venezuela Founder Laura describes how youth can work together to create the world THEY want to live in.

  1. Story

How can girls fight for equal opportunities and prepare for the inequalities of this world if they don’t even know they exist? That was my story and the story of so many other girls—but it doesn’t have to be. I founded Girl Up Venezuela with the goal of empowering youth and women to thrive in a biased world. Even during the pandemic and a national humanitarian crisis, it brought together more than 100 changemakers that today I can call my community. With the aim to give our Venezuelan youth community the opportunities high school and other spaces of society didn’t offer, we’ve organized various initiatives from a writing workshop led by bestselling author Aija Mayrock to a storytelling round with correspondent Lilia Luciano. Girl Up Venezuela is constantly working to create the world we would like to live in, and our recently launched program, “Together We Can Be Better”, is a perfect example of it.

In April 2021, a couple of our members and I reunited to set the bases of a project called “Feminist Camp.” The idea was to carry out an educational program that would prepare young participants to become experts, activists, and leaders in advancing gender equality by introducing them to the different challenges women are exposed to and the tools to make a change.

Before we could even start putting it together, something bigger than our plans happened: Venezuela’s #MeToo movement, #YoSiTeCreo. Thousands and thousands of stories that portrayed the abuse of male power and how normalized gender-based violence is in Venezuela forced us to rethink the type of society we would like to live in. Everyone started questioning their attitudes and past actions. Some Club members joined the brave group of young girls that shared their story of abuse, and took time to heal and grow from their experiences. It was during this time that we reflected on the ways we could offer help.

Based on our previous experiences advocating, organizing, and storytelling, we knew the best way to respond was to combine all these tools that Girl Up taught us. This is when “Together We Can Be Better” came to life. Thanks to Club members from different parts of Venezuela representing diverse backgrounds coming together, our initiative soon become a reality. What started as a short-term “activity” to use education as a tool for social change ended up as a month-long training program with classes and guest speaker presentations on issues related to feminism, gender equity, mental health, and so much more.  Uniting gender equality leaders and Girl Up allies to transfer their knowledge and experiences into the next generation of changemakers, we impacted more than 400 young people from all over Latin America.

Today, I can confidently attribute all this success to teamwork. Hear from some of the leaders behind this meaningful initiative to discover the power found in unity and collaboration:

Adriana De Agrela (Events Coordinator): “The process of creating the program was a journey full of perfectionism, creativity, and teamworkand all the effort was worth it. We had the expectation of 30 registrants, but, to our surprise, we exceeded 400. Honestly, we did the program with a lot of love and affection. And that is why I am very happy for the receptivity of the program and how much it has united us within Girl Up Venezuela.

Claudia Soto (Social Media Coordinator): “The Together We Can Be Better (TWCBB) experience for me has been like putting together a puzzle where every piece counts. We know that we are part of something bigger.

Doryelis Pérez (Co-secretary): “TWCBB has been the proof that youth want to educate themselves to create a change in the world.”

Kamyla Gilly (Organizing team): “It has been an incredible opportunity for growth and learning—the more we know, grow, and fight together, the more likely we are to reach our common goal.”

Maria Alejandra Hernández (Organizing team): “Together We Can Be Better is a program that provides the tools and knowledge to young people in their training, as well as the possibility to become agents of change through the application of what they have learned.”

Liliamne Fernandez (Vice President): “I feel like the process of this program equals our visionthe vision we have that gender equality can really be achieved, to some extent, is a pillar for this. Seeing us united because of the same purpose is something incredible.”

Francheska Gonzalez (Organizing team): “This program represents a possibility to fight for our rights and a team capable of advocating for those who have been silenced. A sorority, full of hope and strength.”

Patricia Muñoz (Social Media team): “Personally, this initiative embodies a new way of educating, transmitting and letting people know how important self-love is, and it is also a way to promote and enhance our feminine role and all the capacities and virtues that we have. It undoubtedly further strengthens the self-confidence of a woman and gives her the tools to discover herself.”

You can join the movement for social change too. Find out how you can start, join or register a Girl Up Club on the Girl Up Community.

See you in the front row, changing the world!

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