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“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet”: from my volunteering experiences to my personal project

Article by Dypall

My name is Anna Rita. I am 26 years old and coming from the south of Italy.

Last year, I graduated in Human Rights and Multi-Level Governance at the University of Padua. For several years, I have been an activist with Amnesty International, raising awareness in schools and on the streets about Amnesty’s campaigns on issues of violation of human rights such as torture, the death penalty, and many others. In addition, I volunteered for an NGO in Türkiye for two months, teaching English and Italian to young people, including those with migrant backgrounds and with fewer opportunities, as well as organizing cultural and sports activities.

Why did you choose to participate in the life of your community and abroad actively?

The main reason is that I’ve always wanted to go beyond what I studied, and there has always been something pushing me to put into action what I learned and actively participate in the change around me. I was always seeking new ways to engage instead of just complaining and waiting for the change. Although there are situations beyond our control, this should not stop us from doing our part and giving our contributions.

Therefore, I chose to join the Portuguese NGO DYPALL Network, which tackles youth participation in decision-making processes at the local level. This experience helped me acquire new skills and knowledge in project management and youth participation.

During my journey with DYPALL, I learned about the CHLaYdoscope project and its training course on becoming a youth community leader. This online course gave me the tools to understand reality differently and approach it from a problem-solving perspective.

As part of the European Solidarity Corps programme, I chose to join the Portuguese NGO DYPALL Network, which tackles youth participation in decision-making processes at the local level.

What is youth participation (for you) and why do you find it important?

I believe that youth participation can be summarized like this: young people count! Our voices, our needs, our desires, and our passions count. And no one should ever take this away from us. If things get complicated, we have the power to stand up for ourselves and speak up for our rights and, consequently, the rights of all the youngsters that are part of our community and the world. It is wonderful to see the power that we can have by actively living our life and by, questioning things around us and informing ourselves on how to engage in communities.

Why is so important to participate?

Participating in decision-making ensures our voices and perspectives are heard and adequately represented. It also allows us to identify new and effective ways to address challenges by bringing fresh and innovative ideas and creative solutions to problems. Furthermore, youth participation provides an opportunity to develop leadership skills, increase our confidence and feel empowered to make a positive impact in our communities and the world. Overall, youth participation is important because it ensures that we, as young people, have a say in shaping our own futures while also contributing to the improvement of society.

At the European level, there are many opportunities for young people to participate actively, from volunteering in their own community to applying for opportunities – abroad or in their own country, for example, through the European Solidarity Corps. The European Youth Portal is also a great resource for finding opportunities that match your background experiences and personal interests.

How did you come up with the idea for developing your project?

“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet” has always been a quote that inspired me, and it still inspires me. For this reason, during my volunteering experiences, I always wondered about new ways of creating something. That’s how my blog called “Youth on the Move” came to life. The name refers to a group of young people on the move with the goal of bringing concrete change within the local reality and raising awareness about the mobility programs that exist at the European level. Many young people are not aware of these opportunities and the enrichment that they can bring to their personal and professional lives.

My final goal would be to create an association in Italy that will become a point of reference for people in need, especially young people, children with fewer opportunities, victims of violence and abuse, and finally the creation of poverty and harm reduction initiatives.

Although this is a big challenge, I want to give it a try and I want to encourage those interested in participating in this project to reach out using this email:

Finally, for all those who are curious to know more about the initiative, please follow the Instagram page:


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