Think of a factory making car parts. Every day to make the same pieces, during the 52 weeks of the year, for years and years.The“normal” life, it's the same ... ..
Every day we get up at the same time, doing the same things, 365 days, for years and years ... .. YOUR LIFE IS A FACTORY, imposed by the system that surrounds you.
I was lucky that in 2012 I managed to wake up from this system and do something that really matters: TO LEAVE MY MARK IN SOMEONE'S LIFE.
My name is Carla Sofia Domingues, Portuguese, 40 years old civil engineer and this is about a part of my life.
In my research to make the change in my life, I found CICD, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go to two info-meetings in Portugal. At first, I was sure that I had found my way, just to hear the concept and the experiences presented. The big change came in November 2012 when I arrived in at UK without speaking almost any English. Here I found a fantastic place, with people of more than 10 different nationalities, where every day was a new challenge.
CICD has become my new home, where everyone works together on a daily basis, from cleaning wc to feeding chickens, cutting grass, restoring buildings, waking up at 6 am to make breakfast or baking bread at night….work in community.
If it's easy? It's NOT. If it´s worth it? YES, EVERY DAY.
Even though I had my degree and work experience, here I learned things I had never heard of or thought to do, such as a "Tippy-Tap" (simple hand washing device), a fire wood saving stove or a solar cooker ....
I had the privilege of being able to choose one of the huge projects in Africa and India. I chose the Child Aid project in a small village (Samfya) in Zambia .... I LOVED IT, it was the 6 best months of my life. I was in a trio with Tamas (today he is my husband) and Gonçalo (one of my teammates).
After finishing the project and the program (18 months program Fighting with the Poor), I did not want to go back to the "factory" imposed by the society, I wanted to continue to help those who need it and who do not have the resources or hypothesis of a better life.
With ADPP (Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo) in Mozambique, i started a 3 years pioneer Nutrition Project, in the poorest province of Mozambique (Niassa Province), with the main focus on children under 2 years, where death due to malnutrition was 47% in children under 5 years of age. It is the largest province of Mozambique, with greater agricultural potential, but with less population. Malnutrition is high, not because of lack of food, but because of lack of knowledge of how to prepare food for children, the quantity and diversity, as well as food habits imposed by generations and myths. It was a totally different experience for me, to get out of volunteering, and to become responsible in one of the biggest ADPP projects in Mozambique.
I saw and lived things that I never imagined seeing or living. To see children with chronic malnutrition, as I saw "in movies" or BBC, and experience experiences like needing 12 hours to do 250 km in the middle of the jungle in the worst road conditions and without mobile phone network, where a car passes one time per week.
Challenges make each day different. Seeing the mothers gratitude when we have saved their children's lives, makes us feel fulfilled and that we are really making a difference in someone's life, makes it worth waking up every day and face the most difficult challenges.
We worked with over 100,000 children, over 300,000 women participated in our cooking demonstrations, we worked in 520 schools, where we gave weekly lectures to over 50,000 girls and gave weekly supplements to combat anemia. We were able to identify more than 3,000 children with malnutrition and send about 27.000 pregnant women to the prenatal clinic.
The impact of the project was to reduce malnutrition by 4% in 3 years, to increase the cure of malnourished children with 8% (from 75% to 83%) and to reduce the number of children born with low weight (less than 2.5kg) from 5.5% to 2.6%. This is what keeps me going and realizing me as a person. The difference we make in the lives of these people and how much they thank us, makes the radical change that I made in the year of 2012, worth it.
At this moment, May 2018, I'm about to start an HIV Project focused on girls from 10 to 24 years old where I will be the Project Leader. It will be a project not only about HIV prevention, but also to combat school drop-outs, to make workshops for girls to have more knowledge in different areas as well as teach them how to open their own business and to make savings, so they can be independent of the men.
And YES you are also able to make the change in the life of someone, as in your own life .... You only need to be able to have the courage to do it, ... WORDS ARE EASY TO SAY, BUT ACTIONS IS WHAT MAKES IT HAPPEN….