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RET Youth Leaders at the UNHCR NGO Consultations 2016

RET Youth Leaders at the UNHCR NGO Consultations 2016


My name is Laura Valencia, I am 19 years old I am a Colombian refugee who arrived in Ecuador 8 years ago with her family and also with almost her entire family on her mother’s side running away from the armed violence inside the country and from death threats My name is Diego Fernando Narvaez Narvaez. I am 20 years old. I currently live in Ecuador as a refugee. The two main difficulties we faced were: education, education was very difficult and also adaptation, because of the discrimination When it comes to the discrimination, due to the misconceptions about Colombia and Colombians so it was difficult to adjust and that influenced the education Also as a young person, and trying to get ahead, it was necessary to search for employment because the economic situation was very difficult and due to the stereotypes, and knowing that you were Colombian, people would say no due to this or that and would not trust us. In RET I found a variety of things that helped me. So, I have joined a group of youth existing at RET, called “Youth X” and well the experience with “Youth X” has been very rewarding and great I am working with two groups. The group “Youth Quito”, and the group “To Win” in which we work on the improvement of projects for youth for example entering politics for the betterment of many of the laws concerning refugees and in the other one we work on leadership skills, personal trainings, and spiritual improvement in order to become better people. I was selected inside the group, as one of the people in charge saw how I was always participating and he sent the request so I could participate in the national consultation At the national consultation there was a great amount of information, with everything that should and should not happen. The solutions, the necessities, the viability of these solutions, what was and was not possible We were also told that there would be consultations at a global level and I said that I had to go there, because first of all I have been fighting for certain things, and I should present that there When I was at the consultation I also had the chance to participate with the actors, with my peers and we also had the chance to send this request to come to Geneva and to be able to present our national proposals I sent it, and I was fortunate to be selected. My role here is of representative and spokesperson A representative of the youth not only in Ecuador but also in the Caribbean and South America I have come in representation of all my peers, and to present all the work we did together I come as an exhibitor to accomplish the goal that all our work be taken into account I am a representative of all those voices who could not come and I have to give all I can so people here may be able to hear them and act in a way that may benefit them and also all of us refugees in Ecuador. As refugee youth we are in a vulnerable group in the hosting States, and as youth we are not really taken into consideration because the States and NGOs are often focussed on children and women, so we are put aside I believe this is why we have necessities that should have solutions and that is how at the consultation we present our necessities and problems, and to that we add our solutions Personally, it is growth for me because I can learn about the issues of youth around the world and see that we are not the only ones suffering from injustices inside a country. I believe this will motivate many other youth to get involved in the changes of all these problems and necessities we have. Now the voice of the refugee youth is being raised, and I believe it is the ideal moment to begin making great changes inside each country. It will generate a set of very good things, like motivation, like solutions to problems and their viability I believe it will serve as an example of motivation for other youth. As youth we have the potential, the character, and the desire to do things. So, I believe that all the youth who saw this can feel the necessity to work together and we now understand how to work on this. I will take with me the happiness of having been able to have this chance the satisfaction that for the first time, we, young people have been taken into account Being part of change is the best thing that each young person can go home with and cherish for the rest of their life.

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