Cape Verde: Melissa Evora
Melissa Evora from the Netherlands studied Sociology at the Amsterdam’s VU University. She returned to her country of origin, Cape Verde, to teach students in subjects such as Sexual Education, Personal Development and English.
“My aim is to motivate young people in taking their own responsibilities by keeping their environment safe, clean and healthy.”
Via IOM’s Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals project, Melissa Evora was assigned to the foundation Chã de Matias based in Espargos on Sal Island, which aims to improve the living conditions of the population by promoting community development on the island. Chã de Matias intervenes in the field of social, economic, cultural and sports through programmes and projects.
“Young people between 16-20 years old are very vulnerable. We share the same cultural background and can use my experience to give them tools for their personal development. At the request of Chã de Matias I for instance organized workshops in which they were taught the basics of sex education, anticonception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and how to deal with sexual abuse, consent and rape.”
“Self respect, respect for other people and for the environment were central themes in workshops about personal development, in which I gave them tools to gain confidence and a sense of worthiness. I tried to challenge the children into thinking critically about gender roles by providing them with topics of discussion. And at the request of the children I also provided them with some basic English conversational lessons.”
“These classes where met with great enthusiasm and the children participated actively. I think my main contribution to the host organization was that the children had someone who taught them in a very informal way, while still maintaining a form of affection that they can not get from teachers who teach them in a formal way. I hope in the end the children saw an example in me that they can become whoever they want to be as long as they put their mind to it."