Hi, I am Clarissa Rios Rojas and I come from Peru. Because I come from there I feel very connected and feel responsible with the social issues happening in the so called "Developing countries". I have studied Biology in Peru, Biomedicine in Sweden and had the opportunity to work in a pharmaceutical company in Germany. Currently, I live in Australia where I have just finished my PhD. I realized that there is a reason why I had the opportunity to live abroad in so many places and meet so many people. This realization pushed me to develop a project that make use of all the experiences I gained and all the networking I built during these years. Hence, I have developed a Latin American project for professional development that offers a platform for hosting, mentoring and empowering Latin students: The Ekpapalek project (www.ekpapalek.com). In parallel, I am also part of the UN Women plataform : Empower women since I have been selected as a global champion for women economic empowerment 2016 with them I am currently developing a pilo project in Peru about changing the current role models of women: (http://www.ekpapalek.com/programa-mujeres).
The biggest challenge I overcome was to have few resources (money) for pursuing my studies and dreams of professional development. I come from a low-income family, so me and my parents made a lot of sacrifices so I could go to school and later go into a University and study Biology in the capital of Peru, Lima. I worked hard at university so I could win an scholarship to go to Finland. Later, I decided I wanted to study in the prestigious university Karolinska Institute in Sweden.. so, I worked cleaning ships, teaching Spanish, babysitting and cleaning houses so I could pay for my living expenses while studying. I overcome my initial lack of opportunities by empowering myself through education and by working hard and being persistent on my goals. Resilience, good attitude and passion for the things I did helped me a lot on my journey.
My vision is to empower citizens from developing countries by developing innovative and effective programs that tackle poverty and lack of opportunities.