Creating Desirable Futures in my Community.

Maria Clara Magalhães
Posted September 13, 2019 from Brazil
Going beyond all borders to build a united world.
Some of the girls from all around the world that I lived with in the Philippines.
Fight like a girl!
Fight like a girl!: I don't remember exactly what I was talking about, but my mom said it was about how diversity matters and how together we can build a better world. aw <3 (1/2)

I grew up in a small town in the interior of Brazil's most violent state, where women are not only raped but also oppressed and most often not taken seriously. Although, I came from a family of very empowered women (even though it is an extremely violent and sexist city). My mother's father was murdered when she was 10 years old and my grandmother raised her children on her own, having to work double and without any support network. Mom grew up in my grandmother's hard line, where women have to be strong out of necessity. When she was 20, she opened her own school in her backyard. I grew up, then, with great female references. I think I was born a warrior and had a very strong temperament as a child.

 

I've gotten into a lot of fighting with the boys at school, mainly because they didn't let me play soccer, play beyblade, or do any other labeled male activity. I had a very strong fierce that always moved me to fight for the rights of girls. When I was 6 years old I really wanted to start training karate and my father didn't allowed because it was “boy thing”, he made a deal that I would do ballet and karate at the same time (my father was afraid of me losing my femininity) and so I started to be the only girl in the karate class. It was very difficult, because the boys took advantage that I could only fight with them, so I lost very badly in class. I felt very strong that I needed to bring some girl friends because together we were stronger, so I convinced some girl classmates and finally we made a women karate team.

 

Throughout my history, there have been several situations that have led me to want a fairer, more feminine world. In college, I joined the Electrical Engineering course, where you live in an extremely masculine environment, very sexist, harassment everywhere, where women are often not taken seriously. And it was at university that my revolution came into light. But as you try to resist, you start creating desirable futures. I started with the Women's Engineering Group (IEEE WIE UFCG) by promoting women engineers and scientists and inspiring girls around the world, pursuing their academic interests in a career in engineering and science. My greatest wish was to bring balance to my engineering course. We electrical engineering students have been bombarded countless times by teachers, classmates, and even our parents who doubted our ability to be engineers. This prejudice had to end. I had a responsibility to give voice because I was one of the only women there. 

 

In the next year, I had an opportunity to start a volunteer experience in the Philippines, where my biggest challenge was living with very different cultures and people. I came to live with 17 girls of different nationalities, with different social realities and different thoughts. Besides learning to live intensely in the present moment, because sometimes there is no water, energy, food ... My biggest learning was improving my empathy skills, learning much more to listen actively and this was the key point to create alternative solutions in the chaos. Also, being unable to give up my ideas and not having access to the ego is what made (a)diversity in being one with everyone.

 

While still in the Philippines, my current business partner Marcela Fujiy, called me asking if I would open a women's accelerator and by the time I freaked out. I had only tried volunteer work and didn't know how I could add, but I accepted it anyway. It's not common to be an entrepreneur at 21. You feel that you don't know anything and being afraid of failure almost made me paralyze, but I threw myself into the experience because my life purpose spoke louder.

 

At that moment a puzzle was being assembled. Returning to Brazil and undertaking social impact business is not easy. I always wanted to live abroad. I thought it would be easier to move to a more developed and safer country. The opportunity to live in the Philippines changed my way of thinking. I saw so many amazing people emigrating from the country and leaving the chaotic islands sinking even more. I feel that I could not do this with my country.

 

When I came back, I came aware that I want to use a lot of knowledge around the globe, but to change the world I start here, with my community, in my northeast. I was returning to Brazil doing several micro-revolutions developing my community, through a mindset of empathy, diversity and inclusion in building new business. An attempt to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand the world through the experiences of others and to feel the world through their emotions. Generating different actions throughout the journey and always with a special focus: positively impact the lives of those around us.

 

Besides Be.Labs Accelerator, I am an ambassador of IRIS project, which is a project that promotes the construction of the desirable future in Brazil, based on gender and women's freedom statistics. We use the power of design to create a positive and intentional future for the freedom of feminine. Thus, IRIS seeks to reach 5 regions of the country, collaborating with people of all genders and creating solutions with immediate positive impact.

 

I am very optimistic about the future. A future where women earn the same as men, where there is parental leave for everyone, where there is no domestic violence. I understood that I build this future by giving voice to girls and women. If I am the only woman in most of the spaces I conquer, then I have to make myself heard so that other girls feel represented and encouraged to do what they dream.

 

My message to all of you is that you have a responsibility to be an active voice in building a better future and to be who you truly are for change happen.

 

 

Comments 21

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Juliet Acom
Sep 14
Sep 14

Wow!

Congratulations on breaking the barriers and stereo types against women.
Your experience and skills will go along way in mentoring girls from the community from which you hail!

I wish you a pleasant weekend!

Thank you so much, Juliet! <3

Jill Langhus
Sep 14
Sep 14

Hi Maria Clara,

Welcome to World Pulse:-) I'm bowled over by your first post... your upbringing, your female, warrior role models, your first karate class, your engineering group, your mission, your work, your organization, and last, but not least, your immense focus on empathy. I'm seeing this more and more in my daily life, but it's such a great practice to embody in our mindset and daily lives.

You may want to consider submitting this story, or another, for the current call for stories, called "GirlForce: Unscriptd and Unstoppable," to for the chance to spread your message even further? If so, this is the link:
https://www.worldpulse.com/raise-your-voice/girlforce-unscripted-unstopp...

I'm very much looking forward to seeing more posts from you and learning more about your organization and also the IRIS project.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Hi Jill! Such a pleasure to read this <3 I am so excited to spread empowering stories :) I truly believe that empathy is our revolution!

Have a wonderful week! <3

Jill Langhus
Sep 16
Sep 16

Hello Clara,

Yay! Looking forward to it:-)

You could very well be right. Something needs to change.

You, too, dear:-)

XX

Dawn Arteaga
Sep 14
Sep 14

Maria Clara - wow! I am so grateful you shared this story on World Pulse. You have led an incredible life from being raised by two fierce and powerful women to finding ways to bring down the patriarchy in karate classes as a little girl. And I love your rationale for moving back to Brazil. You are right, we need to stay and fight and not just look for a comfortable situations. Thank you for helping me start my day out inspired. With you in sisterhood, Dawn

Thank you for you message <3 It is amazing how we can change each others life with an experience. I am amazed with this platform. We are together always, Clara

Dawn Arteaga
Sep 15
Sep 15

Yes! Agreed! I can’t wait to read your future posts!

DrSpirit
Sep 14
Sep 14

WOW Maria,

What a great story. I loved that you opened an Accelerator to help girls/women. We need that here in the US.

I wrote a book about aligning with nature. One of the case studies was Curitiba in Brazil. The Mayor was about creating a sustainable future.
The story is copy and pasted to this post:

CASE STUDY 1: Curitiba, Brazil
SUSTAINABILITY: Curitiba was converted from a poverty-stricken city to a sustainable one managed by a Participatory Democracy focused on empowering citizens for sustainability.
HISTORY: Jaime Lerner, a visionary city planner, served for three consecutive terms as Curitiba’s Mayor, beginning in the 1970s. He implemented changes to create a sustainable city with a bottom-up focus on Human Capital. Including the citizens in the decisions and development processes, he created a city that has improved environmental conditions and live-ability.
CURITIBA REVITALIZED: A Participatory Democracy opened a platform for public debates, discussions, participation, and consensus that increased citizen well-being and effective policy improvements. Cost effective, people-centered projects were implemented rapidly through local initiatives and skills. An extensive bus system was develop to streamline the transit of passengers to their destination, reduce traffic congestion, and generate revenue.
ECONOMIC DEVEOPMENT: In 1970, the average income was less than and, over time, has increased to 66% greater than the Brazilian average. Land values and tax revenue have increased. Express bus lanes carry 20,000 passengers per hour and generates revenue for a sustainable mass transit system. Reduction in automobile use saves 7 million gallons of fuel per year. Free educational centers offers access to libraries, internet, and other cultural resources. A Free University of the Environment, built from recycled materials, educates the people on sustainable techniques.
ENVIRONMENT FRIEDLY PROJECTS: A publically-controlled, bi-articulated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mimicked a light rail system that has reduced car traffic by 30% and greenhouse gas emissions. Exclusive bus routes radiate from a central terminal and pre-pay ‘tube stations’ allow commuters to pay efficiently. Different buses are color coded to target specific locations, routes, and needs of the community. Bus stations link to a network of bike paths.
Multi-use, high density zoning and development are located at bus interchanges. Property is secured to prevent private profiting from public assets. Mixed communities include affordable housing to address multiple demographic groups.
Initiated by children, the recycling rate has reached 70% in Curitiba. Financially challenged residents and community members are able to exchange separated trash for food and other needed amenities. Wastes may be exchanged to satisfy academic needs or toys.
Downtown streets and areas are converted to pedestrian areas planted with trees and flowers. Low-lying land areas are converted to parks with space designed by community cultures. Artificial lakes and parks provide flood control. Sheep are used to cut the grass, supply wool and meat, and sold to generate revenue for the city. Tree removal is discouraged and must be replaced by two trees if one is cut down. Community gardens are encouraged.
Jaime Lerner created a TED presentation called “Sing a Song of Sustainable Cities”.
References
Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city. www.heureka.clara.net/gaia/curitiba.htm
Sustainable City – Curitiba, Brazil. 2007. Fedwards. <www.sustainablecitiesnet.com/models/sustainable-city-duritiba-brazil/>

Creating a sustainable world allows for the resources to be available for present and future generations. Please let me know if I may offer techniques on building eco/green to be sustainable.

Keep up the great work. Dr Liz

Hi, Dr Liz! Curitiba really is a model city for us Brazilians. I think we should build more and more sustainable cities and I will research more about how I can bring this to my state.

Keep up your awesome work too! <3
Clara

DrSpirit
Sep 16
Sep 16

Hello Clara,

Yes, will love to here more about your progress with working on Sustainable communities.

Blessings, Dr Liz

Lisbeth
Sep 14
Sep 14

Dear Clara,
You are welcome to world pulse and congratulations with you very impressive post. It's sad with your childhood background but it looks like your worse upbringing rather molded you to a wonderful young lady.

Amazing! And I look forward to being a great sister to you haha.
Have a great weekend.
Lizzy

Hi Lizzy! Thank you <3 I think all those experiences made me stronger and gave me courage for change the reality. We go together, sis!

Have a wonderful week <3
Clara

Anita Shrestha
Sep 15
Sep 15

Thank you for sharing

<3

chimdirimebere
Sep 15
Sep 15

Hi Maria,
To say that I overwhelmed is an understatement, you killed it girl! So, so proud of you. I'm sure gonna use your story in one of my meetings with a group of young girls that i am mentoring.
Well done!!!

Harriet Chimdirimebere

Hi Harriet,
Oh my God! I was immensely honored and thrilled with your message! If you need any support with the group, I'm here!
Big hug <3
Clara

ANJ ANA
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Maria
What a spirit...... and inspirational you are...
I see myself many times in your story, the interests, the querries, the spirits and a true fighter... I am also with you dreaming the equal earth for male and female and have faith that it will come for sure.

keep shining and inspiring my dear
love and regards
anjana

Dear Anjana,
Thank you so much! We go together working to make this dream come a reality! Empowered women, empower women <3
Big hug,
Clara

Tarke Edith
Sep 15
Sep 15

Hi Clara
What a great inciative you are creating over there sis , thanks for sharing with us.

Merze Tate Explorers

Wow! Your voice is powerful! Thanks for all you do!