Donation for Maha Shivaratri 2016

It is with great pleasure that YUVA (Youth United in Voluntary Action) wishes to announce that it will be conducting free food distribution on a full time basis on 4th, 5th and 6th of March at Grand Bassin on the occasion of Maha Shivaratree.

Last year YUVA served 250000+ puris, 100000+ juice cups & 25000+ biryani plates for Maha Shivaratri. We’ll live this spirit again!

We request Mauritians to donate (in-kind or cash) and/or help (as a volunteer) our non-religious, non-profit organisation to make this initiative a success. By contributing to this programme you feel strongly about as a donour/volunteer and engaging creatively with the shape, form and impact of the project, you ensure that a generation of young people never looks back on the possibilities of how they can create positive change and unity.

For further information on how you can donate and/or help, call on 57086868 or email at

This year Maha Shivaratri is on 7 March. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in a wide variety of ways in different countries where Hinduism is practised, but all are concerned with marking the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati. It is a very important Hindu festival and it is suggested that some 300,000 pilgrims celebrate Maha Shivaratri in Mauritius. It involves fasting, praying and making offerings to Lord Shiva and can start up to a month before the actual day.

In Mauritius, all Hindus are also required to walk to the lake at Grand Bassin, called Ganga Talao (or Lake Ganges). Depending on where they live, pilgrims will start walking to Grand Bassin several days before. They are usually dressed in white and may carry a kanwar, a bamboo frame decorated with flowers, bells, statues, etc, varying in size from small personal ones to large ones (from temples) on wheels, pulled along by a number of young men. Once they get to Ganga Talao the pilgrims say prayers and make offerings of food to Shiva, and the other gods represented there. After they have finished at Grand Bassin the pilgrims return home and may spend the night at the temple making offerings and saying prayers (puja).

The crater lake at Grand Bassin was discovered in 1897 by Pandit Gosain Naipual, a priest from Terre Rouge. He dreamt that a holy lake existed in Mauritius and set out to find it, which he did soon after. As people began to find out about the lake, pilgrims started to walk there as part of their celebration for Maha Shivaratri. Much more recently holy water from the Ganges was brought to Mauritius and was poured into the lake, making it even more sacred. At this festival the pilgrims take sacred water from the lake back to the house or temple to pour it over a symbolic statue of Shiva (the Lingum).

Anti-Corruption Short Film Competition: ICAC

In view of securing the commitment and active participation of the youth in the fight against corruption, the ICAC in collaboration with the Youth Against Corruption (YAC) Platform is organising an Anti-Corruption Short Film Competition on the theme ‘Fighting corruption is everybody’s social responsibility’.

In this context, YUVA invites YUVANs to participate in the competition. You will find a copy of the participation guide and a participation form at the end of this article.

The objectives of the competition are to:

  1. Enable participants to reflect on corruption and related issues and convey anti-corruption messages through short films; and
  2. Provide participants with an innovative and trendy means to demonstrate their commitment in the fight against corruption.

More information on the conditions of participation is available on ICAC’s website: A briefing session cum technical workshop for participants is also tentatively scheduled for Thursday 10 March 2016 in the Lecture Theatre, ICAC Headquarters, Réduit Triangle, Moka.

ICAC staff, Mr. I. Rossaye and Miss H.Khadun are available on 402 6905 for any additional information.


YUVA President as Symposium Speaker at Middlesex University

We have immense pleasure to announce YUVA President Krishna Athal’s participation as Speaker at the Symposium at Middlesex University (Mauritius Branch).

The MDX Media Cluster, a student-led society at the university, is organising a symposium with theme “The Global Community: Building The Next Step” on Saturday 20th February 2016 from 10:00 until 13:00.



We live in a world where we’ve ended up living in a system, in a cycle. As the world’s problems become more global in reach, how can people’s domain of altruism be extended accordingly? What concrete steps can be taken to strengthen the bonds of the community?

The purpose of this event is to act as a catalyst for the youth, to change our mind-set and face the truth as it is. As well, this event aims at impacting on our individual lives in light of dynamic global pressures, with calls to action over the next few years and beyond.


The symposium shall adopt a similar style to the successful and energetic style format of TEDx events with a mix of short thought-provoking clips and interventions, probing interactive talks along with a lively audience.

The organising body aims to have a good cross cutting panel of speakers representing various fields related to the theme of the symposium, with different point of views as well. The latter shall normally consist of a maximum of four orators.

Date and Time

10:00 – 13:00 on Saturday, February 20, 2016


The organising body aims to attract a good cross section of youngsters aged between 17 and 25 inclusive. The symposium will be open to the general public as long as they fit in the targeted age group.

Programme schedule

Screenshot 2016-02-09 19.23.28

Krishna Athal’s intervention

YUVA President Krishna Athal would be speaking mostly on the points that he had raised in his article entitled, “What’s the Point of being a Youth?“.

  • 35% of the population of the African continent is young people
  • To include the youth in decision-making and to fight back the elders
  • Our weapons: to build up a solid, and more important a sustainable, reputation
  • To shift from immature, irresponsible and untrustworthy branding to that of a responsible, innovative and trustworthy youth African community
  • “If you want the right thing, then start doing the right thing!”

If you wish to attend the event, register on

Marketing & Communications Internship

YUVA internship programme offers an outstanding graduate-level student the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to YUVA‘s work with the objective of deepening his/her knowledge and understanding of YUVA’s goals, principles and activities. It is designed to complement development-oriented studies with practical experience in various professional aspects. Interns are not financially remunerated by YUVA.

Objective of the internship: Intern assignment is an opportunity to learn through experience and develop relevant professional and soft skills. It will provide young specialist with a way to meaningfully contribute to peace and sustainable human development results.

NOTE: YUVA internship programme is completely voluntary, no remuneration or stipends will be given.

Under the direct guidance and supervision of the Digital Media team, the Intern provides the support in carrying out the communication related activities of the district assigned, ensuring high quality of work and timely service delivery.

Digital Media at YUVA is at the forefront of advancing online communications and outreach within the organization and is seeking a graduate student with an interest in global issues and social media to assist in building our outreach efforts. This post will give you the opportunity to assist in developing digital strategies for campaign projects that raise awareness for and engage people in YUVA’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2025. This internship includes networking with YUVA’s online community, researching and implementing digital services for campaigning and project management of multimedia content and engagement tools.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Social Media Manager, the intern will specifically be responsible for the following:

  • Keep up to date on new social media tools (especially Facebook and Instagram), best practice and how other organizations and companies are using them in order to identify new campaigning opportunities.
  • Develop and implement strategies and new tools for recruiting and engaging supporters through social media.
  • Support the management of YUVA’s global presence on social media including regular updates and personal communications with fans and followers.

Functional Competencies


  • Have a demonstrated keen interest in the work of the YUVA and have a personal commitment to the ideals of the Sustainable Developments 2025.
  • Ability to demonstrate a high level of concentration.
  • Ability to work under stress.
  • Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments.
  • Observing deadlines and achieving results.
  • Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges.
  • Remains calm in stressful situations.

Interns must have a demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, which include willingness to try and understand and be tolerant of differing opinions and views.


  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals.
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise.
  • Is willing to learn from others.
  • Places team agenda before personal agenda.
  • Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position.
  • Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Technological Awareness:

  • Keeps abreast of available technology.
  • Understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office.
  • Actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks.
  • Shows willingness to learn new technology.


  • Speaks and writes clearly and effectively.
  • Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately.
  • Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication.
  • Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience.
  • Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


Must be enrolled in a 1st year or above university degree in Marketing, Communication, Journalism, Public Relations or a related discipline.

Work Experience

Applicants are not required to have professional work experience for participation in the Internship Programme.

Setting and Reporting

The selected intern will work directly with the District President to whom he/ she is assigned. No transport is required as the intern will work directly from his place of residence but the intern must be in permanent contact with the Social Media Manager and his assigned team.

Apply Now

Applications should be emailed to: by 29 February 2016. When sending to this mailbox, please ensure that the position you are applying for, ‘Marketing & Communications Internship’, is quoted on the subject line.

Job application form: Download Here

NOTE: After completing the job application form, please convert it to .PDF format and send it, along with a Cover Letter, to the following e-mail address:

Essay Writing Competition 2016 for Plaines Wilhems’ Secondary School and University Students

Inline with YUVA’s 4th Sustainable Development Goal [Quality Education], YUVA District of Plaines Wilhems is coming up with an essay writing competition for all students of secondary school and tertiary institutions that are found in the district of Plaines Wilhems.

The essay competition has been classified into 4 categories, mainly:

Category 1 – Form I to Form III

Essay: Write an English essay of 300-500 words on the importance of education in an individual’s life.


  • Not more than two entries will be accepted per participant.
  • All essays should be originally written and of innovative nature.
  • All essays should be submitted in PDF, through email at
  • All essays must include a cover page on which the following details must appear: Title of essay, Name of participant, Contact number, Email address and Name of institution.
  • Deadline of submission is 3 April 2016.

Eligibility: A form I, form II or form III student of any secondary school (public or private) found in the district of Plaines Wilhems.

Prize: The winner and two runner-ups would be awarded in a prize-giving ceremony with a shield, certificate and a YUVA Gift Pack.

Category 2 – Form IV to Form V

Essay: Write an English essay of 500-700 words on how far you agree with the following statement: “It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K. Rowling


  • Not more than two entries will be accepted per participant.
  • All essays should be originally written and of innovative nature.
  • All essays should be submitted in PDF, through email at
  • All essays must include a cover page on which the following details must appear: Title of essay, Name of participant, Contact number, Email address and Name of institution.
  • Deadline of submission is 3 April 2016.

Eligibility: A form IV or form V student of any secondary school (public or private) found in the district of Plaines Wilhems.

Prize: The winner and two runner-ups would be awarded in a prize-giving ceremony with a shield, certificate and a YUVA Gift Pack.

Category 3 – Lower VI to Upper VI

Essay: Write an English essay of 700-1000 words on the need of civic education today in Mauritius.


  • Not more than two entries will be accepted per participant.
  • All essays should be originally written and of innovative nature.
  • All essays should be submitted in PDF, through email at
  • All essays must include a cover page on which the following details must appear: Title of essay, Name of participant, Contact number, Email address and Name of institution.
  • Deadline of submission is 3 April 2016.

Eligibility: A lower VI or an upper VI student of any secondary school (public or private) found in the district of Plaines Wilhems.

Prize: The winner and two runner-ups would be awarded in a prize-giving ceremony with a shield, certificate and a YUVA Gift Pack.

Category 4 – Tertiary Student

Essay: Write an English essay of 1000-1500 words on how the quality of education in Mauritius can be leveraged.


  • Not more than two entries will be accepted per participant.
  • All essays should be originally written and of innovative nature.
  • All essays should be submitted in PDF, through email at
  • All essays must include a cover page on which the following details must appear: Title of essay, Name of participant, Contact number, Email address and Name of institution.
  • Deadline of submission is 3 April 2016.

Eligibility: A tertiary student of any institution (public or private) found in the district of Plaines Wilhems.

Prize: The winner and two runner-ups would be awarded in a prize-giving ceremony with a shield, certificate and a YUVA Gift Pack.

YUVA wishes good luck to all participants!

Discussion Session for International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To mark the celebration of the International day on Women and Girls in Science YUVA District of Pamplemousses is holding a talk and discussion session at International College of Triolet on the 11th of February 2016 from 10:30 to 11:30.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are both vital for economic development of world.  Since science and gender equality are partners in the achievement of developmental goals internationally, YUVA District of Pamplemousses is organising a dialogue session to mark the celebration of the International Day on Women and Girls in Science 2016.

This dialogue session aims at not only inspiring and engaging girls and women in science but also to promote their participation in education and training  in the field on science and at the same time promoting equal access of women and girls to employment in the field of science and technology.  Our vision behind is to have full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.  At the same time this dialogue session aims at raising public awareness on employment and decision-making processes in the sciences and contributing in the elimination all discrimination against women and girls.

The dialogue session targets youngster aged 15 to 18 and will be held on 11 February 2016.  The session shall be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality, child Development and Family Welfare.

In order to achieve gender equality sensitization of youngsters is also important.  It is crucial to promote career development for women in science and recognize the achievements of women in science to achieve sustainable development.

”Women Empowerment and bring in the limelight the status of women in science. My aim is also to sensitize our youngster especially girls on the achievements of women and girls in the field of Science and also to sensitize them on their roles , participation and contribution in society.” – Pooja Bhatoo, Project Leader

Youth Leadership and Human Rights Residential Conference 2

Under the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, the Young Queer Alliance in collaboration with YUVA and several partners namely the U.S. Embassy, the Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Mauritius, the National AIDS Secretariat, Gender Links and A.I.L.E.S., invites you to a second edition of Youth Leadership and Human Rights Residential Conference.
Details are as follows:

Date: 20 – 21 February 2016 (09:00 on Saturday 20 to 14:00 on Sunday 21)

Venue: Hypertek Hotel, Grand Bay

Age limit: 14 – 29 years (inclusive)

Application form Available at:
  1. (docx. word editable format)
  2. (pdf. format)

Deadline for submission of application by mail is 16th February 2016.

Selected participants will be contacted and transport pick-up points communicated. Transport will leave pick up points at 07:30hrs on Saturday 20th.

Please contact Mr. Joomun on 454 5076 or 5791-8547 or by mail at for further details.

01 Residential Poster - Final

4 February: World Cancer Day

Each year on 4 February, WHO and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) supports Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer.

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growths often invade surrounding tissue and can metastasise to distant sites.

Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if they are detected early.

Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

Key Facts

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012.
  • Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
  • The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.
  • About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths.
  • Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
  • About 70% of all cancer deaths in 2008 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030.


Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.

The problem

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. The main types of cancer are:

  • lung (1.37 million deaths)
  • stomach (736 000 deaths)
  • liver (695 000 deaths)
  • colorectal (608 000 deaths)
  • breast (458 000 deaths)
  • cervical cancer (275 000 deaths) (3).

About 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue to rise to over 13.1 million in 2030.

What causes cancer?

Cancer arises from one single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumour cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumours. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including:

  • physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionising radiation;
  • chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and
  • biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

WHO, through its cancer research agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), maintains a classification of cancer causing agents.

Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

Risk factors for cancers

Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are the main cancer risk factors worldwide. Chronic infections from hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and some types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are leading risk factors for cancer in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer, which is caused by HPV, is a leading cause of cancer death among women in low-income countries.

How can the burden of cancer be reduced?

Knowledge about the causes of cancer, and interventions to prevent and manage the disease is extensive. Cancer can be reduced and controlled by implementing evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention, early detection of cancer and management of patients with cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if detected early and treated adequately.

Modifying and avoiding risk factors

More than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, including:

  • tobacco use
  • being overweight or obese
  • unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake
  • lack of physical activity
  • alcohol use
  • sexually transmitted HPV-infection
  • urban air pollution
  • indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths. In many low-income countries, up to 20% of cancer deaths are due to infection by HBV and HPV.

Prevention strategies

  • Increase avoidance of the risk factors listed above.
  • Vaccinate against human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV).
  • Control occupational hazards.
  • Reduce exposure to sunlight.

Early detection

Cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. There are two components of early detection efforts:

Early diagnosis

The awareness of early signs and symptoms (for cancer types such as cervical, breast colorectal and oral) in order to get them diagnosed and treated early before the disease becomes advanced. Early diagnosis programmes are particularly relevant in low-resource settings where the majority of patients are diagnosed in very late stages and where there is no screening.


Screening is defined as the systematic application of a test in an asymptomatic population. It aims to identify individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer or pre-cancer and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment. Screening programmes are especially effective for frequent cancer types for which a cost-effective, affordable, acceptable and accessible screening test is available to the majority of the population at risk.

Examples of screening methods are:

  • visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for cervical cancer in low-resource settings;
  • PAP test for cervical cancer in middle- and high-income settings;
  • mammography screening for breast cancer in high-income settings.


Cancer treatment requires a careful selection of one or more intervention, such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The goal is to cure the disease or considerably prolong life while improving the patient’s quality of life. Cancer diagnosis and treatment is complemented by psychological support.

Treatment of early detectable cancers

Some of the most common cancer types, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and colorectal cancer have higher cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practices.

Treatment of other cancers with potential for cure

Some cancer types, even though disseminated, such as leukemias and lymphomas in children, and testicular seminoma, have high cure rates if appropriate treatment is provided.

Palliative care

Palliative care is treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably; it is an urgent humanitarian need for people worldwide with cancer and other chronic fatal diseases. It is particularly needed in places with a high proportion of patients in advanced stages where there is little chance of cure.

Relief from physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems can be achieved in over 90% of advanced cancer patients through palliative care.

Palliative care strategies

Effective public health strategies, comprising of community- and home-based care are essential to provide pain relief and palliative care for patients and their families in low-resource settings.

Improved access to oral morphine is mandatory for the treatment of moderate to severe cancer pain, suffered by over 80% of cancer patients in terminal phase.

WHO response

In 2008, WHO launched its Noncommunicable Diseases Action Plan which includes cancer-specific interventions.

WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialised cancer research agency of WHO, collaborate with other United Nations organisations and partners to:

  • increase political commitment for cancer prevention and control;
  • coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer and the mechanisms of carcinogenesis;
  • develop scientific strategies for cancer prevention and control;
  • generate new knowledge, and disseminate existing knowledge to facilitate the delivery of evidence-based approaches to cancer control;
  • develop standards and tools to guide the planning and implementation of interventions for prevention, early detection, treatment and care;
  • facilitate broad networks of cancer control partners and experts at global, regional and national levels;
  • strengthen health systems at national and local levels to deliver cure and care for cancer patients; and
    provide technical assistance for rapid, effective transfer of best practice interventions to developing countries.

Sarina Durke: YUVA Sustainable Development Goals

Hello everyone, name is Sarina Durke and I am from Düsseldorf, Germany. Currently I am studying International Cultural and Business Studies at the University of Passau in Bavaria in my third year. I came to Mauritius at the beginning of January to do an internship with AIESEC on the project ‘iExist. Women’s Rights’ with a duration of 6 weeks. Having arrived, I met three other wonderful interns from Switzerland, China and Egypt that will join me on this journey. Within the project, I am happy to work with YUVA, a non-profit making NGO that has set 12 sustainable development goals to transform Mauritius. On the basis of our topic, the rights of women, we chose to work on the fifth sustainable goal – Gender Equality that aims to empower all women and girls. For me personally, I am going to work on the third target of this goal that deals with the issue of harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced or early child marriages.

The first time, I have ever been confronted with this subject, was due to Waris Dirie’s novel ‘Desert Flower’ in 2009. Her personal story and especially her destiny having to undergo the female genital mutilation as a young child and being forced to marry at the age of 13, really left my in a shock and has made a huge impact on me since then. I cannot accept the fact that millions of girls all over the world are at the risk of undergoing the FGM every year and as a result, being harmed for their entire lives. Further, I cannot accept the fact that girls are forced to marry at a young age against their will. For the simple reason that I am a girl and I know what it is like to be at their age, I have to do everything that is in my power to protect them and trying to make a better future for the next generation of girls and women, so that they do not have to suffer anymore. It should be not only mine, but everyone’s goal to pass a law that prohibits child marriages and the practice of FGM. As Emma Watson said in her speech about gender inequality at the United Nations, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’. Another book has influenced me and shaped my beliefs concerning the matters of girls and women in an important way: ‘Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The two journalists reveal many grievances for females around the world and demonstrate many different ways how girls and women can be supported and improve their circumstances themselves. Moreover, I do not think that it is only the duty of us women to fight for this matter. The most important step is to involve boys and men, too to fight for the rights of their mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and cousins. So I really hope that I can make an impact for girls and women in Mauritius, to improve their living conditions, create equal opportunities and to remind them of their unalienable rights. As Mao Zedong said, ‘Women hold up half the sky’ so it is now time that this becomes reality for every girl on this planet.

Jana Huwyler: YUVA Sustainable Development Goals

My name is Jana Huwyler, I am 21 years old and I am from Switzerland. I study law in the second year at the University of Berne. For my internship abroad, I wanted to do something with rights, to gain an insight into an other law system. In Switzerland the equality of woman and men is pretty much given. So I found it important to help improving the woman rights in a country where the equality isn’t very advanced so far.

Feminism has been considered a “dirty” word the past 10-15 years. But as I learned lately at a lecture of the lions club: To be a feminist means just the radical notion that women are people – the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. I find it very wrong and frightening that this is not the normality. The sad truth of the matter is that we start off with men as the standard, as the norm. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.

I belief that, among other things, the women empowerment starts in the social empowerment. Within the Goal 5: ”Gender Equality” of YUVA Sustainable Development Goals and the Target 2: ”Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”, I hope to make a positive contribution. In my opinion the source of inequality is at home by raising the boys and girls differently. We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to be a hard man. We say to girls: You can’t have too much ambition and shouldn’t be too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him. Because of our wrong education, girls are not being of equal worth as men.

Changing the status quo is always uncomfortable. Therefore it is even more important to make a change within the framework of our provided possibilities. But for now, I want to contribute my part. Like Emma Watson said at her speech back in september 2014 at an event for the HeForShe campaign: ”If not me, who? If not now when?”.