*Since today it’s the international labour day, we’ve invited María Lasa, ex-SABF participant to write a reflexion on this day. *
An anonymous quote says that “when the wind of change blow, some build walls and others build windmills”. Each one of us, at some point, has to face winds of change. Those winds can be stronger or weaker depending on many factors, but they will always come (sometimes without prior notice), and then we have to decide what to build: a wall or a windmill?
After finishing College, winds of change blew in my life. You know, the usual: your pass your exams, the ceremonies and hoopla of your graduation are over and you have to look for a job. In fact, I did that for a couple of month, but guess what? I was not lucky enough to get one, so I started thinking that I was not good enough for anything and, of course, that there were not enough opportunities for young people like me. Obviously I had built a wall.
In the following months, feeling depressed and sorry for myself, I started to look for job opportunities on Internet, and it was then when I realized that the calls for applications for contests, seminars, scholarships and jobs, were published in different websites, they were outdated and divided by field of studies. It was then my idea to create a blog that summarize all those opportunities on time, and the result was Todo Jóvenes, a 2.0 social project that published periodically (thanks to the help and support of young volunteers) information about scholarships, congresses, exchange opportunities, jobs and seminars.
Todo Jóvenes was in my life a windmill because, despite the fact it is a very simple and practical solution, it helped me to change my perspective. In fact, not only helped many youths to find the opportunities that change their lives, but it also showed me that large amounts of money are not necessary to change reality when you have the conviction and the will to help.
Let’s put it in this words: when you are motivated (you want to work) but do not know how to proceed, where to turn, and what resources you can use to find a job, a huge gap opens up between motivation and information, and that hurt us psychologically. So, just as we use Internet to communicate, to share photos, news and information, why cannot we use these new technologies to help each other find an opportunity that can suit our needs?
A couple of months after the creation of Todo Jóvenes, the World Bank opened an essay contest in order to share experiences related to unemployment. I decided to share my own story, and I was selected as one of the eight finalists of the contest. I traveled to Sweden to present my essay, and I was awarded with the Second Place. The experience was unique, because I took part of an International Conference organized by the World Bank in which I could share my ideas, and I spent a week with young people from different cultures that allow me to grow both personally and professionally.
Nowadays, in the world, winds of change are blowing. They bring with them crisis and ruptures, but opportunities too. Unemployment is –and it will be– a huge challenge for thousands of youth around the world. Not even Europe, until recently synonymous with progress, development and economic welfare, is excluded from this. But even in crisis contexts, I am convinced that always depend on us to build windmills. I am not saying it is easy, because there is not something like a “prescription” to create, innovate or being an entrepreneur. But there is not impossible, and it worth try it to help others and help ourselves.