Our member – Camila Ochoa Mendoza was interviewed by the French magazine “Altermondes”(view pdf here).
She talked about YouAct, the type of work that we do, the importance of raising awareness on sexual and reproductive rights and empowering young people, the achievements and challenges for youth work.
Here is just a brief transcript in English:
Is it still «delicate» today to talk about reproductive rights with young people?
No doubt! Sexuality is a profound human experience. Sharing thoughts on issues that involve one’s sexual identity is often difficult due to all established myths, stigma, cultural conceptions and emotions surrounding this. Our societies went through several periods of sexual liberation in the past in which concepts such as sexuality, gender, and reproductive rights were reconstructed.
Recognizing sexual and reproductive rights, sexual health and sexuality is still often troublesome, especially within some European societies in which cultural, religious and political circumstances often complicate the flourishing of healthy conversations on these issues.
It is on our hands to change these conceptions, to give each other a voice, to speak up courageously about our needs, concerns and vision for our own well-being. This world we envision is not an utopia; we believe training and education on sexuality are the most outstanding means to provide us with tools to make this “delicate” conversation a healthy one.
What is your position in the organisation and how did you start working there (and where are you based)?
I became a member in June 2015. I am currently studying anthropology in The Netherlands with an interest in gender & sexuality, and am also very passionate about development and social issues. It seemed fitting to find work based on sexual health and rights. In August, I attended the Annual General Meeting, which is one of the few times that members get to interact and discuss internally about the organization. I got to know Ana, our coordinator, really well, as well as the other members who work really hard and who have contributed so much. I realized how important it is to talk about sexual and reproductive health and rights, and realized how much work still needs to be done in Europe. During that meeting, I got elected to be the External Communications Officer of the Steering Committee. Although the work that I do is completely on a volunteer basis, and at times can be very demanding of time and energy, I find it highly fulfilling. To be working with other like-minded youth so motivated to make a change is extremely inspiring. It is also rewarding to be able to participate in high level events, to be part of the conversations regarding the current policies that are taking place. Although things progress in baby-steps, it is really satisfying when you know that you are working towards helping the youth who face stigma and discrimination based on their gender and sexuality.
What will be your next fight?
Currently we are working to raise awareness about the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is also about reminding Europe’s leaders and holding them accountable so that these goals are translated into practice (implemented through policies, strategies and action plans, with budgetary allocations).
We are now working on a project with the support of inroads – the international network for the reduction of abortion discrimination and stigma (http://www.endabortionstigma.org/) and creating a handbook about abortion stigma in the Eastern European context.