We had an early start this morning, and left the hotel for meeting up with the Nansen Award winners, Butterflies for breakfast.
The Butterflies started with the name, Butterflies with broken wings, but now they change it to Butterflies with new wings building a feature, that says more about what they actually do.
Together with the IKEA Foundation we had the pleasure of meeting these brave women, of course we had prepared lots of questions eager to learn more about them and the work they do. The stories they told us about their experiences in Buenaventuras was heart breaking, it’s hard to fully understand and absorb what they have been through coming from secure Sweden. We asked the ladies were they got the courage to do what they to every day, and the answer was simple; we have to, we don’t have a choice. We cannot leave people alone.
Emma asked how they see the future in Buenaventuras, for the Butterflies the most important thing was peace, and also for the people living in there city to be able to earn an income, since 80 % in Buenaventuras lives in poverty, a good salary is 7 dollar/day for men and 3 dollar/day for women.
But as they say; if we start to work with the children then maybe we can change the future.
One problem when the kids go to the public schools is that outside, the armed gangs are standing trying to recruit new members, so now the parents have started small schools at home. Then a new problem occurred, since it’s a private school the kids don’t get lunch and the parents can’t afford to pay for it. But at least the kids don’t end up in a gang.
We also wanted to know how the Butterflies find the balance of helping people and staying away from the gangs radar, since we heard the stories about what happens when you brake the laws of the gang, and once again there answer was; we don’t have a choice, we have to do this, even though we are scared for our lives.
With the prize money Butterflies received at the Nansen Awards they are going to build a safe-house that can help the most vulnerable people but also function as an office for the organisation. To keep up the their work and to be able to help more people, every member of the Butterflies has a task of recruiting 5 new volunteers to the organisation.
When we asked what’s the most important message you want us to take with us back to our country. The Butterflies said; that even if were not in the same country or continent, the feeling of solidarity and being united as one front addressing this issue makes a different.
The feeling that we takes with us is from these days is that the campaigns that we do in the store is so much more than just a selling competition. Our effort makes a difference. We are part of something bigger and we help people around the world through UNHCR. Were leaving Geneva a bit more humble, with more knowledge and a lot more pride!