We are delighted to introduce the three new volunteers who have just joined the project in PBI Colombia. They have arrived from France, Italy and Scotland with masses of energy and enthusiasm to accompany organisations and individual human rights defenders. They began their training in Bogota and have now been incorporated into the field teams. Here they tell us of their first impressions, their dreams and motivations. Welcome and good luck to the three of you!
Agathe Chapelain, France
“In order to want to leave traces in the world,
you must be in solidarity with it.”
Simone de Beauvoir
I´m from Brittany in Western France. I am happy to be back in Colombia in this historic moment in which armed actors are seeking peace. I am a daughter of popular education which has motivated me to work for PBI and the human rights defenders, social leaders and communities that they accompany. It seems to me that through accompanying these brave people we amplify space for peace building, which eventually should allow everyone to be dignified, and respect for human rights to be guaranteed. Also, I can´t wait to be a pain in the neck for those who represent the unfair repression that they suffer.
Tommaso Fornai, Italy
Freedom isn´t being on top of a tree
Nor is it having an opinion
Freedom isn´t a free space
Freedom is participation
My name is Tommaso and I am from Italy. After having worked for a few years in Latin America I decided to come to Colombia because the country is living through a unique moment in its history, and I want to be a witness to the political, social and cultural challenge that the peace process represents. Freedom is participation, and I am happy to have the opportunity to work for an organisation such as PBI Colombia that offers human rights defenders the possibility to participate in this process. Because, in my opinion, no true peace process can exist without respecting fundamental human rights. In this period with PBI Colombia I hope to learn a lot about the country and about a new organisational methodology based on the principle of horizontality, and at the same time contribute to the work of this organisation through my enthusiasm, happiness and determination!
Morna Dick, Scotland
Feminist thought teaches all of us,
above all, how to love justice and liberty
in ways that promotes and affirms life
The future has a way of arriving without annoucement, but I feel that I arrived to PBI a long time ago. I have spent nearly two years imagining this journey that has taken me from a small Scotish island to the red-brick PBI house in Bogota and onto the fruitful lands of Urabá.
They say that the place of a woman is in struggle, and the most important thing in this world is solidarity. I hope to offer the people we accompany here in Colombia solidarity that means that their struggles, sowed with a firm hand in this rich land, can continue. It is with this in mind that I have started to learn everything I can, to open myself to share common experiences and prepare myself for the work that lies ahead.
I hope that my small input of being with them in solidarity gives them the strength to keep moving forward in this process towards reconciliation, peacebuilding and to reach longed-for justice.