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The warrior spirit of Cláudia Semedo, adviser to SMS Youth/U-Report Angola, which has already registered over 60,000 youths in Angola

The warrior spirit of Cláudia Semedo, youth councellor  to SMS Youth/U-Report Angola, which has already registered over 60,000 youths in Angola

 

 

 

Cláudia Simão Semedo is a counsellor at the SMS Youth response center. The social activist and student struggles daily to ensure that all Angolan youth and young people have access to information about sexually transmitted diseases, unemployment and other problems that impact them. As a tireless worker, the young woman from Viana is determined to show friends and family that her dedication and effort can change the world around her.


Cláudia Semedo, adviser to SMS Youth/U-Report Angola.

 

It is at home that we begin to form our character. With Cláudia Simão Semedo it was no different. The young woman grew up in a humble family, but “with a lot of strength to grow in life wisely”, she explains. In Viana, where Cláudia Simão Semedo lives, everyday life demands determination. 18 km from Luanda, this is the second-most densely populated municipality in the country, with more than 1.8 million inhabitants, most live in extreme poverty. Despite being one of the region's top industrial areas, Viana is a serious case of lack of basic infrastructure that makes life difficult for the population.

 

Believing that life can give much more was what gave Cláudia Simão Semedo determination. Even before being the SMS Youth Call Center advisor, she knew that she was born to help. “Since I was little, I had this constant desire to support others without measuring efforts. Sometimes I sacrificed myself to see others happy and I continue to do that”, she guarantees. When, many years ago, she kicked off her life as an activist in the JIRO (Youth, Informed, Responsible and Organised) project, “that journey has only intensified”.

 

Today, Cláudia Simão Semedo is at the front line of the SMS Youth Call Center in Viana. This messaging service (from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with support from UNFPA and UNICEF) allows any young person to send mobile messages to report or find out more about problems that concern them, such as health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, youth unemployment, sexual reproductive health, gender equality, COVID 19, HIV/AIDS or epidemic outbreaks. The most recent numbers (which keep increasing all the time) indicate that almost 64,500 Angolans between 15 and 30 years old, above all, have joined the platform.

 

It is this population full of desire to participate in the future of the country that Cláudia Simão Semedo serves daily with a recognized technical capacity that has gained her hand. “I had a lot of training in the area of ​​sexual and reproductive health and beyond, and this was fundamental to transmit knowledge to other young people and to be able to debate with them”, she assures. Surprisingly, this security that she demonstrates day after day requires extra personal effort. “I'm a fearful person, but I prefer to hide my fears,” she admits.

 

This blunt and honest confession says a lot about Cláudia Simão Semedo's personality. “I am a true African woman warrior!” she exclaims. The many difficulties she suffered throughout her life left her no alternative. “I should be taken care of, treated like crystal, but I'm not. I suffered a lot on behalf of family, friends and colleagues. Life was difficult sometimes. I didn't have anything in my pocket to meet some needs like the taxi or food, but I managed to overcome everything”, she recalls proudly. The key to her recovery was her dedication to her causes. “I have always been a young woman willing to work hard”.

 

The fighting spirit that she cultivates makes her believe that working at SMS Jovem in its area of ​​expertise, in matters of family planning and sexual and reproductive health, will transform generations of young Angolans. This conviction remains firm, even when the reality around him sometimes plays tricks on him. “I often took my family to some lectures, advised them, but they ignored me. I was sad when the sister 'whom I took' became pregnant and interrupted her studies. Despite this, my family took her in and we took care of the baby”. It is at times like these that she renews her “motivation through books, music, art or conversations with God”.

 

The SMS Jovem adviser recognizes that obstacles are part of the path and that there is no need to give up. After many years of persistent work, she knows that she has achieved the hardest thing – changing her attitude among hers. “At school, I didn't have much support from colleagues and teachers. The same happened in the neighbourhood where I live. Today, fortunately, they already accept me and even praise my work a lot”, she says, satisfied.

 

After some resistance, Cláudia Simão Semedo's family is also extremely proud of their work at SMS Jovem. “In the beginning, my father didn't accept what he was doing, there were years of constant struggle. My brothers also saw me as the one who walked around, but today everyone thinks differently”. Even the activist's mother helps her achieve her goal. “Often, she's the one who wakes me up when I have to walk, or who helps me with travelling to the Call Center,” she says.

 

Cláudia Simão Semedo's strength and determination are fireproof she needs and she won't stop there. Her mission, she reinforces, is that the “brothers and other young people are well of” and have the opportunity to make their voices heard. “Tomorrow I will be able to say that I did fight and that the opportunity I have at the SMS Jovem Call Center was worth it!”


Isabel Francisco Major, Sansão Francisco, and  Cláudia Semedo - Conselheiros do SMS JovemYouth Councellors for SMS Jovem/U-Report Angola