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‘Courage to Advance Change’: Get to know slavefreetrade’s Youth Team!

‘Courage to Advance Change’: Get to know slavefreetrade’s Youth Team!

On International Youth Day, our Youth Program Coordinators were asked to speak about what drew them to slavefreetrade and the meaning behind their signature hashtag #Youth4Freedom.

Our Youth Coordinators

Giulia Capone, Italy
Passionate about fighting inequalities,
Gender Studies and Sustainable Development.

Virginia Garcia Romero, Uruguay & Italy
Passionate about Human Rights and Gender Equality.
Committed to advancing the UN 2030 Agenda.

Federica Rizzi, Italy
Passionate about Migration Trends,
Gender Studies and Sustainable Development.
Strongly committed to making Humanitarian Aid
as inclusive as it could possibly be.

Cynthia Tjin, Switzerland
Strongly believing in and committed to
creating a way of life that is sustainable
for our planet as well as the people
living on it.

Maria Durán, Spain
Delivering comprehensive solutions
to social and sustainability challenges.

Tell us more about you. What made you decide to join slavefreetrade? 

Virginia: I always wanted my work to have meaning, to be able to make even the smallest contribution to a better world. I looked around and realised that there were many things I wanted to change. But I understood that I couldn’t expect others to do what I wasn’t ready to do myself. So I decided to be and advance the change I wanted to see. 

Cynthia: I joined slavefreetrade because I was immediately inspired by the level of commitment of the volunteers that are behind this organisation, all working towards the goal of eradicating modern slavery in our supply chains. I felt compelled to join this cause and wanted to see where I could contribute. 

Giulia: I have always been very sensitive about modern slavery. Thanks to a friend I found slavefreetrade and I thought it was my chance to help other people. 

Maria: I joined the Youth Program at slavefreetrade because I thought it was about time for us to take on responsibility for ourselves and I did not want to miss out on this chance. 

Federica: As a young person, I have always learnt about people making it their life mission to change the world and I have always admired them for their courage to do so. However, I came to realise that nothing was stopping me from doing the same, or trying to at least. I came across slavefreetrade through my job, and felt this was the right platform for me to make my voice heard, to have the courage to advance change. 

As Youth Coordinator at slavefreetrade, what does #Youth4Freedom mean to you? 

Cynthia: To me, #Youth4Freedom means, in short, that it’s on us, the young people. We have already witnessed it for other topics of interest: the Youth can make a difference. And this is exactly what we want to achieve at slavefreetrade: that young people become aware of the fact that we are key actors in the fight against human rights violations (in supply chains)! 

Virginia: For me it means…stand up for what you believe in! Don’t let anyone take that freedom from you. Don’t let others tell you what conversations you can join, what issues are worth fighting for, or what your limits are. You have that freedom. Fight for others to have that same freedom. 

Giulia: I think that the hashtag #Youth4Freedom is an important starting point to give young people a way to fight together against modern slavery with new projects and ideas. 

Maria: The hashtag #Youth4Freedom was created by and for the Youth, and I believe that this is why it is important: it empowers the Youth to do something for themselves. 

Federica: To me, the hashtag #Youth4Freedom is a way of showing the Youth is here, I am here, and we stand for what we believe in. We demand a world that is made in freedom, and this hashtag can truly create a movement of like-minded people who will no longer accept to let other people decide for them. This is our way to advance change.  

What does the Youth Team work on?

The Youth Team at slavefreetrade was brought together by the common desire of having a world Made in Freedom™. Our team of inspiring Youth Coordinators come from diverse backgrounds, experiences, countries and cultures. We unite within slavefreetrade’s Youth Program, under the hashtag #Youth4Freedom, to build a community of young allies ready to advance social change and raise their voices against injustice.  

slavefreetrade’s Youth Program believes there is too much potential and strength in the Youth to be associated with the words ‘disengagement’ and ‘disinterest’. We believe engagement and interest must be nurtured. Hence why we wish to provide the Youth with a platform where they can learn how to advance change and which, at the same time, they can use for such purpose. 

We dedicate our time and efforts to introduce difficult conversations – child labor, human trafficking, modern slavery, sustainable consumption and production, etc. Although we believe these topics are often intrinsically woven into everyday affairs and the products we purchase, it is not something simple to come to terms with or decide to take action on right away. Therefore, part of our work revolves around activism, and inviting the Youth to find ‘that cause’ that moves them, whichever it is, and show them how anyone can advance change in a way they feel comfortable with. Our ultimate goal is to encourage young people to engage in a dialogue with others, irrespective of their backgrounds, and come up with concrete actions to create a better and more sustainable future. 

Launching our first Youth Program campaign: Courage to Advance Change

For us activism is a step-by-step process, something that happens gradually. For this reason, on this International Youth Day we officially launch our first campaign from the Youth to the Youth, under our motto “Courage to Advance Change”. This campaign is about finding courage within yourself to take the first step into standing up for something you believe in. For the next few months, we will showcase activism worldwide in all its forms and stages, hoping we will spark that courage we know exists in each and every one of us. 

Even though we may not realize, a cause can be fought for with or without joining a protest. Being active can be a private or public decision. Gestures such as changing or re-thinking your purchasing habits can make a difference. Starting sustainability conversations with your family and friends can increase green and human rights conscience. Believe it or not, clicking on that ‘follow’ button on different activists/organizations’ social media accounts also tells a story. It means you’re opening up to listening to something different, staying informed on current events and that you are ready to start challenging your biases. 

Follow slavefreetrade on Instagram and Facebook and tune in every Friday to learn more about the Youth Program and the work we do! 

This article was authored by Federica Rizzi and Virginia Garcia Romero, Youth Coordinators at slavefreetrade.