Since completing her Work & Travel USA program over 10 years ago, Maíra Vilas Bôas has earned a degree in Law from the Federal University of Ceará and is a postgraduate in Human Rights and Social-Ethnic Relations degree candidate. In addition to her continued studies, she is also a federal employee, a Volunteer Coordinator of Amnesty International's Group of Activism in Salvador, and a Politize Ambassador.
Maíra is passionate about human rights and social change. After she ran a workshop to talk about girls’ rights with a group of young women at Grace Care School in the city of Ghaziabad, India, she was inspired to establish human rights clubs in public Middle and High Schools in her own community. When she received the email from CIEE about the Exchange Ambassador Grants, she knew this could be the opportunity that would help her move her dream from an idea to a reality.
Maíra applied for and was awarded a “Professional Development” grant which enabled her to attend VII International Colloquium of Studies on Men and Masculinities in Costa Rica. At this conference, Maíra gained necessary skills and abilities needed to make her idea a reality and a powerful tool for change in her community. Maíra took part in workshops, conferences, and discussions and returned from the Colloquium with a new set of skills and knowledge. As a result, she shared with CIEE that she feels more confident that she is on the right path to fulfilling her dream to create change in the world.
Following the Colloquium, Maíra shared what she learned with her Amnesty International Volunteer Facilitators Team and started work on plans to launch “Respect Clubs” in public Middle and High schools in her local communities. Currently, they are working to develop lesson plans, marketing materials, and a social media plan that will be used to establish these clubs. The goal of “Respect Clubs” are to prepare students to be global citizens who organize for social change, to stimulate positive gender socialization, and to engage boys and young men in gender quality.
Maíra shared with CIEE that, “…the Exchange Ambassador Grant gave me the courage that I was seeking to keep fighting for human rights and for the formulation of a brand new world where suffering is not allowed to minorities and vulnerable people, where equity, justice and fairness could become a truthful reality for each and every one human being in this planet. Precisely for the fact that CIEE believed in me and empowered my dreams, I now have the strength to be the best professional, student and activist that I could ever be.”
To learn more about the CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants, please visit our website.