How did young people cope with the early days of the pandemic?
Committed and inspiring young people, in search of a Paraguay without poverty, shared their experiences in this pandemic, related the problems they have faced from their respective spheres and debated what is most important for the future from their point of view.
What role do young people play with a view to the post-Covid-19 future? How has this pandemic affected them in their different areas of action? In the discussion: “The youth today: I dream and do”, shared this pleasant virtual space of the Cerrito Forum 2021: Alejandra Vouga, young university student; Renato Prono, athlete; Gustavo Arias, candidate for councilor and former student of Cerrito; and Nacho Masulli, social entrepreneur, moderated by Fati Fernández, actress and radio host.
Only two weeks of Vouga’s first year college classes had passed when the pandemic took hold of our lives. She is a student of the Physics career at the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences of the National University of Asunción, she is passionate about science and education. She commented that this situation made her more resilient: “It is not only the Professor who teaches the student but also the student who teaches the Professor, it happens both ways. Teaching each other is important,” she added.
Her volunteering at the Benjamin Franklin Science Corner motivates her to continue with her goal of working in physical science research and without leaving her dream aside, she assured that this pandemic denoted several needs: “We are all an important part of everything, we must be part of a team to achieve things. We must get involved, do what we set out to do well, be kind and grateful. It is important to share with people and transfer what you know”, she added.
On the other hand, taking an athlete out of their routine to remain locked up for almost the entire first year of the pandemic was the most stressful thing that Prono experienced. “For all athletes it was quite a challenge, and in those moments was essential to find ways to motivate themselves, train and stay at a high level to continue,” he shared.
Staying motivated allowed him to convey positivity to people who follow him through social media. “I just try to show my day to day, what my values really are, how through perseverance, responsibility, discipline and sacrifice, objectives can be achieved. I am privileged to be able to do what I love, and I always try to share with people”, he said.
For Arias it is essential, as young people, to get involved in politics, because “this generation brings great changes to the country.” He stressed that the key is to get things done, to act and generate positive impacts. “We must stop saying that politics is dirty and not do something about it,” he said.
He pointed out that the idea of running as a candidate for councilor for the city of Guayaybi, Department of San Pedro, came up during a walk with his friends, while collecting garbage from the streets. “From there, we began to investigate and become interested in what is being done in the city and what can be improved, including local politics.” He commented that beyond the actions that are carried out in the community, it is necessary to enter the system to generate great changes.
“The first day we brought food to Ineram, we saw too many people in need. After that, our action went viral on social networks and since March 3 of this year the collaborations have not stopped”, recalled Masulli. The also footballer, became a benchmark of Paraguayan solidarity by preparing food for those on the front line in the battle against Covid-19 and relatives of hospitalized patients.
It was difficult for him to balance both tasks: “The first few days, I stayed up very late answering messages and then the next day, when I had to train, I could feel the lack of rest. It was right there where I understood that in order to help others, I had to take care of myself first, and I convinced myself that it was not wrong not to answer a message instantly,” he said.
All agreed that real change happens when people become aware and take action. A change of mind is a hopeful initiative.