TASK 1 – Who am I right now!?
Who am I now?
Who am I now?
I don’t like defining myself much, because I feel that whatever is definable creates limits, boundaries, and I don’t like that. I prefer to be open to whatever I do of myself, or whatever I might feel like I want to do of myself… Definitions, descriptions, labels, they are only words and can be misleading, definitely not for me…
I prefer to explain myself simply as somebody living my life, intensively! making mistakes, laughing, crying, living and learning…
For those who don’t know me, my name is Joao Felipe Scarpelini, I’m 24 years old. I was born in Brazil, into an Italian family… (Although I took about 20 years to really accept my Italian identity and understand it does not exclude my “Brazilianity”!). I was born in a little town called Botucatu, but I was raised mostly in Santos (coast of Sao Paulo), lived in Sao Paulo city but few years ago (6 years to be precise!) I started a crazy journey that took me to experience over 40 countries… from Argentina to China, from Canada to East Timor, from Norway to Zambia working in different community projects in the most different contexts and realities!
More than just “travelling”, I’ve experienced a true immersion into the unknown world of “abroad”, and I’ve discovered new worlds, also new ways of understanding those same worlds… I’ve tried different flavors, discovered new colors, heard new sounds and experienced new ways of making them… I’ve collected smiles! I’ve heard stories, discovered people.. their dreams, their passions, their fears…. I’ve faced problems! Lost in-numerous nights of sleep, I’ve dreamed (and still do!) And I managed to achieve quite a few of those… I fought a lot, had to discover and re-discover my strengths inside myself again and again… I’ve loved… and was loved in return… I’ve cried quite a few times, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not as much…
All those different experiences that I’ve lived made me question and reflect who I am, and how things are. Also how I understand the way things are and, how they influence the way I am. (But I think this discussion might be far too complex to explain in this blog!)
Although all these things re-shaped me A LOT they did not make me lose my roots, my values and my believes… Quite the contrary, it strengthened them. It made me grow, expand, broaden my limits, or simply forget about creating limits to myself! I know myself much more now! I consider myself a world citizen, and because of that I feel responsible for taking care of the health, and state of my homeland earth.
How do you feel?
I feel anxious!!!!
I feel there are a lot of things that are wrong, that there is a lot that still needs to be done… and yet many people don’t realize that, and I feel anxious to know we are wasting precious time. I personally struggle to simply sit and wait for change to come! So I’ve been spending all the minutes of my day trying to make a difference in little things, in my daily life, inspiring and motivating others to do the same as well.
It really irritates me to see global leaders justifying “inaction” with lack of resources, or knowledge. When we know that the solutions are out there and if we really want, as a global community, we can pull together the resources, the skills, the knowledge and the creativity we need.. We just lack the will.
So I’m anxious to see more individual warriors taking the action, and leading by example, showing that the world is full of abundance, and that we can make it work for all, if we are serious about it.
I feel anxious to see and live in this better world we are working hard to create!
Do you have professional questions? What are they?
Gosh, I have many… Where to go? What to do?…
I think I have been quite lucky and I had the opportunity to work in incredible projects, with passionate inspiring people, helping communities to transform themselves. It’s being great! And I’m super grateful for that!!!!
But I feel I need to find balance still. Right now, I have no base, moving from community into community, from challenge to challenge… caring my house in my shoulders and I think I need to balance that.
I would like to discover the secret of having a normal settled life, and yet, still be able to work on those incredible projects that are big part of what makes me happy and complete.
I also wonder when I will finally be able to find people to fund ideas and dreams that matter to me, as much as the projects defined by their funding priorities…
What are your dreams?
I dream of having a good life, of being able to share a bit of my passion and the things I’ve learned and experience with others… I think my big blue sky dream is that one day, we “human beings” will all understand that we can all live together, and have enough to eat, to drink, to enjoy… and that societies will be restructured in order to embrace simple values like cooperation and collaboration! And that communities in general will learn to live “partnerships” as a core value of their daily lives.
What are your challenges?
Uhm, now I think my challenges are mostly related to time/money. I have to juggle a lot between contracts and projects in order to make enough to survive and pay my bills and my studies… But yeah, somehow the challenge becomes a motivation for me, so I’m managing it quite well so far.
Why do you want to take part in the Warriors without Weapons 2011?
I’ve been following the Warriors Without Weapons program for a while, I’ve already took part in the “hands on” part of the training, and worked with some of the Warriors in other projects. But still somehow I feel I need to give myself the opportunity of living the full experience.
I’m really looking forward for the opportunity of taking part in the program, and to learn…learn…learn as much as I can… to absorb and share as much as I can with Elos, and all the other warriors… I want to rethink my approach to community work, and to incorporate the values and ethos of the warriors in my daily work.
I think this is a very unique opportunity for me, to become a better warrior myself, improving my skills and in general, to become part of this powerful and passionate community of warriors spread around the world.
Have you ever done something which demonstrates that you are a “Warrior Without Weapons”? Tell us!
I think that for already quite few years I became a Warrior without weapons. I was involved in volunteering since the age of 7, but in fact it was only after visiting a slum area in Santos city for the first time at the age of 13 that my life has completely changed. That visit appealed to me so much that I felt I needed to do something, I needed to change that, but at the time I was told I would have to wait until I was old enough to be able to help somehow. I was told that with my age and no higher education I couldn’t do much for these people.
I decided not to wait any longer and I started with some friends an organisation dedicated to share stories of young leaders, who were already transforming their communities, trying to inspire others to make a difference. I also started with something really small, basically sharing the few skills and knowledge I had at that time. I started teaching English, IT and basic life skills for young people of my age. It didn’t take me too long to fall in love with the work and to start dedicating a huge amount of my time to the community. It was never really planned but I started working in different slum areas, schools and youth groups in the city of Santos and Sao Paulo working on different issues such as sexuality, HIV/Aids, nutrition, basic health care, IT, professional skills, media, etc. My main goal was to engage young people like me and support them to develop small actions to improve their own lives.
It was also at this time that I realised there was a real need for more platforms that would allow young people to take part in decision making. The problems of the city were affecting also the young people; therefore it was only clear to me that young people needed to be part of the solution too. After lots of work in lobbying the local government and different stakeholders in the community I helped founding the Municipal Youth Commission in the city of Santos – a platform that allows young people to advice on the youth polices and strategies of the city. Realising the impact and the power of those platforms, I decided to work even harder to create more of those spaces and opportunities in as many places as possible.
Since that I have never really stopped and I have been working as an activist on different campaigns, causes and in various organizations. I’ve been in the forefront process of recognizing youth participation within the UN System since 2004.
From July 2002 until August 2010 I’ve worked for Peace Child International (www.peacechild.org) first in Brazil – later (August 2005) at its headquarters in England, where for 5 years I worked as the Institutional Development Manager and Special Projects Coordinator. Since 2008 I sit in two Advisory Committees for the UN-HABITAT – United Nations Human Settlements Programme, advising the agency on its youth mainstreaming strategy and on the management of the UN-HABITAT Urban Youth Fund, a fund financing and championing youth-led development worldwide.
Currently I’m consulting for UNICEF Zambia, working in a program called Unite 4 Climate Zambia which trains young people (13 to 17 years old) to design, implement and manage climate related projects in their communities.
I’m member of YouAct – European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights. And work as a correspondent on youth issues for different media outlets and publications including the World Bank’s Youthink initiative.
What are your plans? What do you want to do when you return from the program?
I’m currently doing a PhD in Participatory Community Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction at Middlesex University, and consulting for a climate program led by UNICEF Zambia. I believe the Warriors Without Weapons program is an opportunity for me to learn more in depth the Warriors approach, and its methodology which will enable me to apply it in all my future interventions.
I believe my main commitment will be to incorporate the values, the ethos and the learning from the Warriors into my daily work and life. And to contribute as much as I can to this amazing network of warriors… keeping the network alive and active!