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El cambio comienza en nuestros niños

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I’m very glad of being here. When they told me they were having a TED conference for the first time in Venezuela and they invited me to be a part of it,a very important event, I said –Yes, absolutely! I believe I am a big fan of TED and I am very proud it is taking place here in Venezuela. I hope it lasts because what TED does is definitely amazing. Every time I have the opportunity to give a speech in public, especially if it is in Venezuela, what first happens is that I start shaking and I ask myself -what am I going to say? And then I start thinking and I tell myself –this is not about me, this is about sharing, and I start coming up with the ideas of what to say. I remember a story that I want to share with you. When I was little, we grew up in a very poor slum in Maracaibo. We used to live on the fifteenth floor and never got any water. So I remember that every time the water truck came, we were the last ones to get water and the first to run out of it, since it came from the bottom of the building to the top and then back. On the weekends, when I used to spend more time in the apartment, I remember spending time in the roof and putting my hand like this, right? And I saw the ships far away, the motorboats that came and went away and they paced up and down the lake, going straight to the right, then got to the bridge and then returned and I imagined my classmates in there having a great time. here was so much water, since they were in the lake, and then they arrived to the place where the houses of the richer people were located. And I imagined I was there sharing with them and my mother told me once –Oh, little girl, you are going to stay there forever! After some years, I remember my professor, Yehuda Berg, told me once –Patricia, the only essential thing for a person to succeed is to have another person that believes in them.-- And it is unbelievable, because when we are little, we as kids, have a huge world of possibilities and we choose the realities we want to see. That was the reality I wanted to see and I imagined all those things. But, unfortunately, as we grow up, especially children that live in those difficult conditions even worse than those that I lived, there is a time when you start thinking that none of those possibilitiesis feasible and you really start believing it, because you face it everywhere. When my professor, Yehuda, told me those words I said –wow! It is true! No matter how difficult everything was, I had that person that believed in me: my mother. As time passed, and I started to succeed -years had passed already- my uncle in Maracaibo, the one that helped my mother to go to school, she is wayú and they are siblings, during the time of telegraphy, he was very sick and before he passed away he told my mother Don’t forget the gayús. And I think –Ah! When I see my mother so sad, for us that we are wayusitos, And I think –Ah! When I see my mother so sad, for us that we are wayús, I don’t know if here are some people of Zulia, but we see wayús as a very damaged culture: there is smuggling, guerrillas, kidnapping, all those awful things. We don’t want wayús. Even me, as a wayú I also felt that way. When this happened to my uncle and I saw my mother so sad, since she was the person that believed in me, apart from the fact that she is my mother, I felt I had the responsibility of helping her. All of her pain became also mine, without knowing what it was. It is amazing because when we all are exposed to a painful situation, we don’t know that in the other side "pain equals an opportunity", and I didn’t know what was about to come. When I went to the Guajira I said –I am going to do this for my mother. I faced a situation that I already knew, but never in my own home, in my own country, where human rights did not exist, and the kids… there weren’t any basic rights, there was no food, no education, there were diseases and people didn’t have bathrooms in their houses. And so I had an idea: I would talk to my friend Evelyn, who is here, and tell her –Why don’t we do something together? And she got excited with the idea. Who knows if she did it for the gayús or for me? But it is chain that grows. We said –let’s build a school! We are going to start with a little school of thirty kids, because, as people say, through kids, changes can really beachieved. But, what happened? None of those kids had possibilities, their dreams were taken away and they were surrounded by all those things that we talked before. So, what did we find? If we wanted to build a school, a starved kid couldn’t study and a sick kid couldn’t neither study. Then, what about if we built a school to thirty kids and we guaranteed that each child eats two meals per day and we talk to our friends so the kids could get medical care? However, in the beginning, when we got there, they didn’t believe in us, and there are still places where people don’t believe in us and I remember what Yehuda said: -if they believe I believe in them and someone believes that Evelyn believes in them and then if other people join us, we can actually achieve something. So, we started with the school, and it is incredible that nowadays the foundation has grown so much. What I think that has happened, which is the most beautiful part of the story, is that children have recovered, they are not victims anymore, they are now confident kids and they have started to see their possibilities again and they have become their own leaders. And now, when they get to their homes, their families want better things, so they count on the community to get better opportunities. As a result, this initiative is having an important effect, not only on the communities, but also on the cities, the country, the continent, the world and the universe. it is fascinating to perceive this change. But when we start thinking about what is this effect… I realize it is like a wave, isn’t it? The wave goes away, takes water and returns. It’s like nature. It comes and goes but it doesn’t take it all, which, unfortunately, is what we are doing. There must be a time when we stop taking it all, without returning anything. If you only give to charity, first, people begin rejecting your phone calls when you’re in need, and second, charity doesn’t stimulate the self-esteems of the people you are helping. It is certain, and I say this confidently to all of those who have or think of creating a foundation, the only way to achieve the foundations’ success is through sustainability. We must create a model of foundations in which all of them are sustainable. For example, in our foundation, when it all happened -we are obviously an inmature foundation and we are learning as we go forward - we thought about bringing the women of the community to work. So they showed us some bags they make; I am sure many of you have seen them, they are called susú. This is one of the first bags, its quality is not very good, but they have improved a lot and now the bags are beautiful. A wayú woman spends twenty days to finish one of these bags. So we thought –why don’t we invite them to do their work in the school? The school today has almost five hundred children. So they come and work under the churuata and when they give in their bags, they can participate in some courses and the foundation sells the bags and uses the money to pay, not everything but a part of the school’s bills. Hence, imagine what this means to all those women. They are not only recovering their selves-esteem, they are doing it through activities they have done for many generations, so they feel proud of their culture and they are also seeing how their kids grow and are being educated and taking possibilities. One thing that I have very clear today is what our cause is. I don’t wait for the government to help us, although one really wants it. I am not waiting for you to help me, because this is what we and the friends of the foundation fight for. Yet I wonder: for sure, among all of you there are people interested in breast cancer, violence perhaps, drugs, homeless kids. Each one of us has a special motivation and that is my question What is your cause? Whatever it is, we must start to be responsible and stop blaming others, which is a very human thing to do. Because, look: every time you do this and blame someone else for it or you are waiting for anyone else to take care of it, it is like you are pointing with two fingers; but, how many are pointing at you? Three. There must be a time when we realize we are figures in a society and we are the ones who must take the responsibility and not wait for others to do it for us and it is there where we make the real difference. Now I tell you, it is very easy when we decide to help a foundation or do something by ourselves when we have money. However, when we decide to help it is like the universe conspires against you to make things harder, so you run out of money, you have no work, even the people you are helping make things even more difficult. So it is definitely really hard, but it is right in that moment when you must keep going. And sometimes you believe… there are times, for example, when, in the mornings I want to wake up and help the foundation. But there are so many days that I ask myself –Why are we doing this? And then the foundation calls Vladimir or Evelyn and says –Look, we are going to Haiti! We are going to the Amazon. Look, if a kid in the Amazon gets a flu they will die! Wow! So there is a moment when you say –I don’t want to keep doing this anymore! I don’t want to keep on! Even so, do you know what it does? f you don’t go up, who is helping you? Even so, do you know what it does? If you don’t go up, who is helping you? Not you, for sure. So, when we see how these kids, step by step, and the societies do change, with our cause, everybody says –What you do is so beautiful! How nice it is what the foundation is doing! How nice it is what the foundation is doing! How beautiful it is what you are doing with your projects of sustainability! Look, people can come to us and take away everything from us, but even so we are going to go up and we are going to do it again, because there is something that the people who are involved in all this can feel, and those who don’t would say –What you’re doing is so beautiful! Well, actually the beautiful thing is not what we are doing. And sometimes we wonder –Am I changing communities? Am I changing these kids? No, they are the ones who are helping us and that is what you experience when you start helping, and it is the mission of our foundation. We as a community are observing if you are helping the Guajira, or other communities. We are all involved in the foundation, New York, Los Angeles… we are the ones who are living the change so they are the ones who are helping us and if you become part of the cause, the cause that you want to fight for, you are definitely going to feel that change too. Therefore, that is what I want to inspire: let’s fight for what we really want. Thank You

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 36 seconds
Country: Venezuela
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Producer: TedxTepuy
Director: TedxTepuy
Views: 118
Posted by: tedxtepuy on Dec 30, 2011

Patricia Velasquez is Artist for Peace UNESCO, Spokesperson for UN peacekeeping. Also, in 2009, received the Women Together awarded by the UN. In November 2010, will be honored with the Award for Solidarity in Spain. Your Wayuu Taya Foundation is dedicated to improving the living conditions of indigenous groups in Latin America while respecting their culture.

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