Story of Empowerment – Arcilon Rocha

Date: 06 October 2011

Arcilon Junior is a young YMCA volunteer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He’s been involved in YMCA activities from his early childhood. As a 3-years-old boy he started with swimming, and today Arcilon, 27 years old, is a YMCA Sao Paulo Board member and he is engaged in advocacy work as a YMCA representative at the International Youth forum.

This forum that was formed in 2008 provides youth organizations with the possibility to discuss, to share opinions on various problems of young people which are very often the same in different corners of the world.  The advocacy work, done within this movement, is important for making a better future for the youth of tomorrow.

The problems discussed at the Forum include, for example, youth education, leadership, unemployment, etc. Youth organizations, and the YMCA represented by Arcilon Junior in particular, address governments with the demand to solve these problems. And they offer various solutions themselves: creation of new workplaces, development of business opportunities, recognition of international diplomas, etc. The Forum is open for discussions with governments thus giving them the possibility to talk to youth representatives who, working directly with young people, are much more familiar with their anxieties and worries. The Forum’s position on youth issues is currently developed in the form of the Youth Convention.

Working in the field of advocacy for four years already, Arcilon Junior feels the progress on two levels: personal and the Forum’s ones.  He has learned a lot during this time about advocacy, now he has much more knowledge about it that he uses in his everyday YMCA activities. And the Youth forum after a hard work, in Arcilon’s opinion, has been finally recognized by governments that started to listen to it and take its conclusions into consideration.

Arcilon wants to continue his advocacy work even though it’s not that easy. But on his way he is encouraged by his own life philosophy according to which Arcilon believes in the possibility to bring some change to the society by the power of advocacy even if it demands a lot of time and effort.

By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna , Belarus