S: Good morning to Maurizio ... M: Good morning! S: ... good evening from Sardinia. This evening we have a really important guest, especially for what she does but also for me because she is a very dear friend of mine, a woman who has been, and who still is an example, and who is making a difference therefore I am really happy and honoured because Carla Cossu is here with us, and I want to give the floor to Carla, to introduce herself. I will give you some keywords for this video, that are: young people, opportunities and new perspectives, thanks, Carla, floor to you. C: Ok good evening everyone, good morning to Maurizio. Well, first of all, I want to thank you for this introduction, that worries me a little for the
responsibility it gives me, but... specifically me and Stefania..we have known each other for a long time, we have had the opportunity to share several moments. This in my opinion this is already an interesting experience because we come from, let's say, different backgrounds, but then in short we gradually found ourselves, well... I am 45 years old and I have been working for several years in an International Cooperation which I would say is a passion more than a job, which I pursued with a lot of determination, I work with Cospe who is an Italian ONG which works in many countries of the world... and it is one of the few ONG's in my opinion that even managed to survive a little after that crisis of 2009. It is an NGO in which I still share different values and many perspectives, that's why I have been working with them for 11 years already so this makes you understand the affinity, that there is, between me and this NGO. As I was saying... I come from a non-linear path,
because for some years I have dealt with tourism in different ways, especially in Sardinia, always waiting for the opportunity to leave for Cooperation, the Cooperation was my dream, I did not know exactly what it was because at the time it was not talked about too much and it was not very structured as a word, there weren't the courses to study that there are now... it was also difficult sometimes to explain what this passion was for me, and it is simply a way of being able to make my capacity available to support the growth of other people, of programs, countries, etc. I still did not know this very well, so let's say my experience, this experience on tourism is the first degree I obtained, which was precisely related to tourism, they allowed me to get on this train, thanks to my dear friend Afacundo, who has also worked for many years in the Cooperation and so I landed, let's say, in Cape Verde, in a project that was almost closing... therefore, at more than 30 years old, I left as a volunteer with the perplexities of many people because I left a situation that is also quite safe, in terms of work, so being a volunteer at 30 was not exactly the highest aspiration in the minds of many people here, not mine. So let's say, that for the first period
as a real volunteer, I worked in tourism, in sustainable tourism when at a certain point, after a few months during which I worked in the communities, and therefore in direct contact with people, I approached more and more issues that somehow are certainly transversal of tourism, but that made my heart beat a little more. Themes inherent to young people, women, unfortunately to the violence, of which the world is full, is not only in developing countries, but we also see everything that happens in our country, and therefore let's say that in recent years I have become more and more passionate about this whole area, In fact, in recent years I have also decided to undertake a course of study even as an old woman, to achieve a degree that also allowed me to understand a little more in regards to the subjects I was dealing with. So let's say that in recent years I have been dealing with young people, I deal with prisoners, with a male audience because the island where I'm hosting let's say a male-only prison. I have recently dealt with trafficking in women, so in short, all these issues
that have a lot to do with rights, you know, with respect for human rights. And let's say that the driving force is always the need, however, to give this opportunity, a word that comes back constantly in my life. I have had many, which were given to me first and foremost by my family to whom I owe everything to in regards to who I am, then from friendships and also from these trains that have passed. What I started to reflect on more is that we many times perceive the importance of having this opportunity but we forget the importance of giving the opportunities. so I believe that in any case, the work that I do with
so much passion is basically this, of giving back the opportunities that we have had. Many people ask me "oh well but how?" ...because then this work is still difficult to explain; but sometimes, we can give a little, if we think about, there are people who have never had the opportunity to study, but they manage to learn a lot if they are supported and if we what we know available and share our knowledge with these people. This is an obviously very banal example, however, it gives the idea, so let's say that I... I like to say that I deal with Empowerment, youth leadership, young
people, you know, they are...it seem clichés but that's true, they are the future, this does not mean that who is a little bit bigger cannot change his perspective, but the challenge is precisely to make sure that young people see, recognize themself , that they become aware, that they become more empathic with all these issues. Hence the need to work with men and women together, therefore not to split and not giving an advantage to one category rather than another because otherwise, we return to talk about non-inclusion. So let's say that this is what I always say I'd like to do... because I do it but then the results are unfortunately seen in the very long term, anyway we try to plant small seeds, we work a lot with the local people, obviously, also in their path of professional growth, so that we can gently observe and can leave them, and that they remain to continue their very important path. This is what I would like to do, I repeat, I like to say it like this, and that I hope to be able to do, it always remains the dream of my life, so... M: You are an explosion of information
and passion and just listening to you, to the introduction, while you were talking, I came up with a hundred questions that we will not have time to ask you, you have touched on topics all important, all of those you have touched but I would like to focus on the goal we have been dealing with in the last ten days with Stefania. we also did a live, we talked about the difference between men and women, about Empowerment, we tried to give an even different cut that you touched on in your introduction that you did, then you talked about young people which is so dear to us and I do a little the practical part of all this, and since you have a beautiful point of view, a broad point of view because you traveled, starting with tourism you had the opportunity and the courage to get involved in different environments, which probably many Italians have not done, so the question is when you talk about young people and when you talk about women so it is a double question of, we must plant the seeds we must try to influence or plant seeds in young people... in a concrete way, because we don't have much time, we have to do these things now in a concrete way.... from your point of view and your experience, what should we do, both in terms of young people and in terms of "égalité" as they say in French?! C: Ok, well... the question is a big question I would say... let's try to summarize,
more than anything else, to give some ideas. So, about young people I certainly always say we should start from kindergarten, making it clear that there are not differences, we create the differences because when you decide the color, the game, the future of your child... we make many mistakes in this sense, obviously dictated by the culture, mainly, that is, we think one way, if you go to Afghanistan they think in another, if you go to Cape Verde they think in still another, and so on, so from there, already, we should avoid condemning children to a future that may not be theirs, I talk about many things... education too... we turn a lot to the ministries, to the Ministry of Education in Cape Verde, we have a very close relationship, we even ask for these materials being included in the ministerial programs, for teachers to be trained first, because otherwise, this would not be possible... but then step by step
to children, and above all then the children who arrive at high school, are given the opportunity to become protagonists, and youth leadership is the turning point of everything, if you make a kid understand that he has a voice, that he has the ability to choose for better or for worse, that he has the right to make mistakes too, rightly.... but that he has a role, and that he must have a role in society because you can't always decide for him, it is more likely that this person, that this boy, this girl, begins to see the world with different lenses.... because here it is always about seeing the world with lenses, we see them in a way. I am 40 years old, my cousin is 20, my nephew is 10, so you have to put them in a position to be able to start deciding, to understand what it means to be a citizen, the concept of citizenship, of governing, they are abstract concepts that if we think about them, I remember in high school that we were talking about politics or saying but for me they were really distant things, incomprehensible, when instead you also understand that sooner or later you will have to choose which side to stay on no, where to go, where to walk, as soon you do it, better it is! However, how? Not always opening the head of the guys putting in the "information" then you close it again, without asking them anything.
...no, it's the opposite, you do a path together and are called paths of Empowerment and youth leadership. It work very well, and we had some wonderful experiences in Brazil, with some street kids ...and actually these kids came to understand, think and also to discern what becomes right and what is wrong, this works well for all the problems of bullying, abuse, sexual harassment, etc. When the kids know what is right and what is wrong they start to defend themselves, this doesn't mean that the responsibility must be placed in their hands, of course, it is not this... but it means that they too are starting to be able to say "No, you can't do this". We see it a lot
in the schools where I work, unfortunately very often it occurs that the teacher "takes advantage", and through these paths, the girls, the boys (because it's from all sides) they come to be able to say no, to say it is wrong, to have reference points. So if this happens I can go to the psychologist, I can go to the police, I can even go to my mother; however these are paths that must be integrated between teachers, students and parents who, unfortunately, many times (I don't say they forget because it's a heavy word) but many times they are unable to follow these children, so let's say that the interaction between three of these categories must be concrete because, otherwise, it is useless. You cannot work only in one area, so let's say that in this way you can make good work... kids themselves, for example learn to monitor these situations that happen in schools, we normally... now it will start, this whole path in Cape Verde, where the kids will be trained precisely to learn how to do questionnaires within the school, to understand if someone is suffering from abuse, from violence inside the school and after school. In short, they become more and more protagonists, from this point of view it is increasingly difficult for a kid to not understand where he should be. We use music a lot, and I repeat that music saves the world because that's right, music saves. We see it in prison that the most beautiful activities...
(I always get shivering when I talk about these things...) are in activities made with music, music helps, helps to unite, helps to free oneself and therefore even in schools, I have worked with music, with poetry, and this year we started with photography, every now and then I also use some of my passions, in the middle, we are sure which will bring some news, however, this is food for thought. So, wondering: "Is it worthwhile, maybe, just putting different subjects, even at school to make children choose also from a scholastic point of view?", why do the teachers have to decide everything, why? Then it is not a hymn to the revolution but it is awareness so... in short, with this we can deal with many issues. M: Great. S: Yes, it was, yes, a path of awareness and I confirm what Maurizio says, that it is a pleasure to listen to you, then I am lucky enough to hear and share with Carla all these paths and evolutions, and so I wanted to ask you just looking at the path you have taken, now it is more or less a decade that you have spent in Cape Verde, I imagine that you have seen things change, also because of what you have managed to bring, and I want to ask you, giving some indication of how you have seen thing change also in young people who still collaborate with you, who see you so active, proactive and who are offering opportunities, which advice would you like to give them? So, I mean: what did you see changing and what advice would you like to give. C: Ok then, I state that, what we managed to do, we did because there was team work, nobody can go on alone, not even the best with the most experience... I have always had the good fortune to have
people next to me, especially these young people who had a great desire to learn, if you ask at the COSPE, they will all tell you that in any case I focus a lot on human resources, for me personally this is the greatest goal, and so when I see the guys next to me who grow up, who learn, who ask themselves questions, who manage to give answers, which make me think, then I understood that we hit the mark, we all hit the mark. So, what I always suggest and what I always say to my boys is to never stop: on the one hand, to really chase their dreams and make them come true. And unfortunately this is done when you make a fool of yourself, so there is no escape. And it's useless when it's told to you "becomes something in three days", the shortcuts don't work, there aren't. There is a lot of sacrifice,
there is the humility to listen, to share, and to give because these things happen when somebody is willing to transfer what he knows, I learned it from my parents, this was a basic teaching what I give because I have to keep it so I have knowledge and skills, why keep it, but it works when even on the other side these young people really want to own the challenges, because it is a question of challenges, it is not so much about becoming, it is the famous search for talent, that I pursue. It is not the vote that I have always hated and I hope that sooner or later it will be abolished definitively. It's searching for the talent, for example: "Wow I managed to understand where this person can get in here, in my opinion it is that, so who is on the side maybe... like in this case I am, a country referent, a project leader, depending on the functions... we have this responsibility to transfer and to grasp, to grasp because this is how we do it, work changes when one sees and notices, so to give this opportunity, and... to young people, to give themselves the opportunity to understand, I personally can say that I have seen... my team apart, that has had exponential growth
I am very happy and every time, that is for me it is a great joy, now we are 14 so....but also, some activities that were done, ( mainly in the prisons), that many of "my guys" as I like to call them, they are my guys... when they realized that there was someone who believed in them, (in that case it was me and I continue to do so), the perspective has changed a little. Of course, it does not change their life because then there are other problems outside, but knowing that there is at least one person who believes in you and who sees you in a different way, it can really change things. We have had several examples, there is someone who has even graduated in law, recently, a beautiful path... so, you have to believe in it and you have to have patience because these, as we said, are seeds... and a plant or any tree, doesn't grow
in a day... so it is patience and consistancy, this is what i would say. M: Great Carla, Ste unfortunately I know that we have reached the end of the interview, now we go behind the scenes to bombard Carla with other questions. S: We will organise a second episode because the speeches can also be expanded... M: Absolutely, there are so many things that Carla, if you give us the availability we will hold you tightly, in the "MLA-Ripple Effect" family, because you have so many concepts that we would like, as you said, to share with other people. So thanks... Thank you very much, thank you very much ... C: Thank you!
M: ...and see you at the next episode! C: Yes, hopefully soon, thank you very much for the opportunity! S: Thanks, to you Carla. C: Hi, a big hug to everyone. M: Hi.