Hi! My name is Lavern and I am from the Netherlands. Both of my parents were born and raised in Surinam (a not so small country in South-America, between Guyana and French Guyana and above Brazil), I was born and raised in Amsterdam and have been living in Rotterdam now for about 4 years! At the moment I am still a student, ready to graduate. I study Culturele Maatschappelijke Vorming. It is social work, but in the Netherlands you choose different sides of social work. My education focusses on non-formal education.
Other than being “just a student”, I also started volunteering for a young LGBT-organization in Rotterdam a few years ago. It’s called The Hang-Out 010 and it is located in Rotterdam. I was involved In organizing a lot of activities and because of my study, I wanted to know more about the organization itself. A while ago I was asked to be on the board, so now I am also a board member!
Within this organization I learned a lot about this community, and I keep on learning new this almost every day. Right now I am working on a photo exhibition about labeling and it opens at Rotterdam Pride this year!
I know Can Do from RADAR. I was an intern there for a year and my internship just ended in July. I choose RADAR because of the work they do and I wanted to help in fight discrimination and racism. Throughout this year we did a lot of activities to empower people. I love making people aware of things and to let them think about their own actions and how they are part of a system.
Empowerment for me is making somebody feel good about themselves. I believe that you have to empower yourself first, before you can empower somebody else. Being able to achieve things as an individual is great, but to empower more people and to achieve things as a group is even greater.
It is also about being a rebel. Taking back power, to change the normative world, to change the structures, to change to systems, to think outside of your own comfort zone, to be done with labels, to just live your life the way you want without all these labels we constructed.