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Support Miguel A Rozo in Colombia

$100 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 1 person in 25 days
On February 16, 2019 I came back to Colombia for the first time in 19 years, after being forcibly displaced at the age of 11 and seeking asylum in the US. For years, I’ve dreamt of coming back here to change the vicious cycle of violence that has affected many people in Colombia, including my family. I’m finally realizing this dream, thanks to a 6-month internship with the United Nations (UN) as a Junior Professional Consultant with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Bogota, where I’ll be working towards achieving peace building and political reforms.

While I know I have a lot to contribute and am committed to this opportunity to advance peace efforts in Colombia, I feel that the burden of financial strains could limit my experience and ability to raise awareness on local issues. These strains include earning below minimum wage stipends, higher than expected living costs, and my current financial situation due to student loans and other debt accumulated, which I’ve incurred to help me bridge the gap in this difficult and underpaid job market (something that unfortunately many in my generation face ). I would be forever grateful for any help you can provide to help me offset housing, transportation, Visa, and many other general living expenses. Your help will also ensure that underpaid internships (sadly, a common occurrence ) are accessible to everyone, regardless of background.

 
MY STORY
I ceased to be a child when I was 9 years old, when I stopped attending school from one day to the next and became part of the millions of internally displaced refugees (IDP) in Colombia. To this day, Colombia has the second highest number of IDP, after Syria. Due to fear and persecution, we fled within the country for almost two years under my mother’s protection, until we were able to find safe passage with my father to the United States under asylum.

We settled in Mississippi, where my brother and I learned English and my parents worked in unstable conditions. In Mississippi, we also quickly realized what it was like to be a visible minority in the Deep South. Three years later, we finally managed to immigrate to Canada, the place we now call home.

The life of an immigrant hasn’t been easy, and to do this day, my parents still face many health and professional challenges. But if I have learnt anything from my parents and their unconditional love for us, it is the power of resilience and to push ahead regardless of what life throws at you. We all came very close to not making it alive out of Colombia 19 years ago, but it was these characteristics that kept us moving forward.

This is why my return carries such weight. It is the culmination of years of study and hard work, all in the hopes that Colombia can one day be a more just and inclusive society – so that others do not experience what my family went through.


WHAT AM I DOING IN COLOMBIA AND WHY IT MATTERS?
In late 2018, I was chosen to join the UN in Colombia as a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) after a 4-month recruitment process with an acceptance rate of only 4.9%.

Joining the UN is a dream come true. It is what inspired me to study international relations and led me to learn various languages. It is also what solidified my enduring belief in diplomacy as a means to avoid and solve conflict - and I think contributing to this field couldn’t be timelier. Our world needs more diplomacy to deal with the serious consequences of rising inequality, climate change, and rapid technological change.

Perhaps Colombia can teach us all a lesson in the power of diplomacy and working towards the common good. After decades of civil conflict, the Colombian government and the country’s largest insurgent group signed a peace deal in 2017 that ended the Western hemisphere’s longest-running insurgency. This peace is still fragile though, and many issues remain in the country, which is why I am joining the Governance Unit of the UNDP, to help achieve lasting prosperity. It is a historical moment that I want to be a part of.


OBJECTIVES
There are many projects I would like to take on, but my current financial situation is a significant barrier.

For Colombia, my goal is to publish a piece every two weeks and share this journey through social media while raising awareness. Colombia has received increased attention worldwide but there are many facets of the country that deserve to be covered. My return after so many years and work with the UN presents an opportunity to shed light on these changing landscapes.

As part of my commitment to promote peace and dialogue, I would like to carry out site visits and see first-hand what progress has been made following the peace accord. I want to talk to people on the ground to see up close what communities are doing to make life better for others, and bring a unique angle to what's happening in Colombia.

THANK YOU!
Whether you can make a contribution or share my story, your support would be invaluable and make a big difference in my journey. I would love for you to join me. Please do not hesitate in reaching out should you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,
Miguel A Rozo

E: miguelrozo@ideasxchange.org
Bio: http://miguelrozo.com
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