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Viva a Vida- Eliza’s story


maria-eliza“Without Viva a Vida, my daily life would be monotonous… as it was before I joined this project”.

Maria Eliza , 15 years old – Vila Jovem Youth Group


Eliza is the name of the youth leader in this success story – a sweet, shy adolescent, with a bright smile and a series of pertinent questions about adolescence.   A pupil at the Vila de Abrantes State High School, where Viva a Vida carries out some of its work, Eliza got to know about the Vila Jovem Youth Group through its Group Worker Aderaldo, who talked to students at the school about the group’s meetings.

She is a member of the Vila Jovem Youth Group, which is a group for young people’s community mobilization, aimed at helping them think about their community, its problems and potential. Eliza participated in the Human Rights and Youth course, in which they discussed Racism, Gender, Community Mobilization and Advocacy, and Young People’s Policies.

Parallel to this training, poetry is used as a strategy to prepare the young people to disseminate their learning in an end-of-semester event, which they have to help organize, and where they look after invitees and talk about their community. Poetry is a useful instrument for working with these issues in a more dynamic and creative way.

“Viva a Vida changed my view of society and developed my critical sense in relation to certain social issues, young people who stay at home all day, doing nothing, have come to participate and don’t waste their time, they make the most of their time and get involved in social causes.”

The magic of poetry, which was a preparation strategy for the community mobilization activities, works as an instrument to free up ideas, raise awareness and reflect on the social issues addressed in Vila Jovem. This has made all the difference to Eliza’s life.

She gathered together her courage to represent Vila Jovem at the inauguration of Viva a Vida’s new community centre. There, she talked about the project to an audience of at least 40 people, overcoming her shyness, filling our team with pride and surprising her family, who came to commemorate one more achievement in the life of the girl with the big smile.

One of Maria Eliza’s poems:

My life is a paradox
A mixture of opposing feelings
When I am happy
Unhappiness comes to me
When I am interested
Disinterest comes to me
When I am content
Discontent comes to me
When hope enters
Despair enters too
When love enters
Prides wants to rule
When union knocks on the door
Distrust doesn’t stay away
With its fear of disappointment
Sometimes I’m good
Sometimes I’m bad
That’s how I am




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