Sunday, a native of Uganda, lost both his parents to HIV/AIDS at a young age. The stigma that the disease carries and his own disability due to polio, made normal life a tall order for him. He had to face discrimination at school, from family and from the larger community. When people boycotted even his wedding, he decided to stand up for himself and others like him, by forming Persons with Special Abilities Africa, an inclusive experiential learning centre to empower the disabled.
Now an intern at the Kanthari International Institute for Social Change at Mukaloormoola in the city, he hopes to change the lives of many others like him. Sunday and 19 other interns from nine different countries, who are part of the current batch of the seven month leadership programme will be presenting their projects at ‘Spread the Spice - Tryvandrum,’ a one day expo about actions for social change, to be organised at Manaveeyam Veethi on October 6.
Wurok from South Sudan has spent 20 years of his life as an internally displaced person (IDP) in Sudan, experiencing the trauma of war and the resulting alienation. From his small village in South Sudan, he was displaced to North Sudan to seek safety and elusive peace. He sees interconnections between education, peace-building, and the environment. His plan is to start a community peace centre that empowers communities to come together and create a culture of peace.
Carolina from Bolivia is a survivor of sexual abuse from family members. The trauma she had faced is the trauma that many children and women are facing in Bolivia. And it endures, the abused become abusers, the abused stay silent, and indifferent in front of others being abused until the chain is broken. She has started the Colibri Centre where such sensitive interventions will be made to help victims of abuse and to change the deeply rooted machismo culture in the society.
Olubodun from Nigeria grew up in Bariga, a dangerous neighbourhood in Lagos State. He witnessed much violence and was harassed often by miscreants and hoodlums. Coupled with this was the hopeless situation of his poverty-stricken family. These experiences in his youth inspired him to start Access for Youths to Information Technology Initiative (http://ayiti.com.ng) providing underprivileged children and teenagers of Nigeria with computer programming skills and coding. The goal is to reduce crime rate among youth and instead they should acquire creative problem-solving skills that will help to them to get jobs. “The focus of the event this year is on building a participatory space for the public to understand how they can be a part of this change by co-creating community solutions aligning to a global change. The event will be centred around four different thematic areas - Children and Youth, Disability, Human Rights and Environment,” says Mr.Sunday.