María Mikaela Yac Salanic is 22 years old and since September 2013 she is a part of SERES. She is one of many young SERES leaders believing a better future is possible. “Every action makes an impact” she says when we meet her in our annual summit. “So, what I want to see is that all of us get more aware of what we do and that we don’t isolate ourselves. The problem is that the majority of today’s youth focus on their work and study, and isolate themselves completely from what is going on in their communities.”
Before getting in contact with SERES María Mikaela had no big dreams of making a change or becoming a leader. She says that she didn’t have any idea of what was going on in her community. “I was just studying and working, completely isolated from everything else” she says.
But when she met some young people from SERES she suddenly got curious and wanted to know more. She decided to participate in a program and that is where her interest and will to change was born. María Mikaela describes how she, during the participation of one of SERES programs, suddenly felt that she broke the cycle she was in, she went out of her own comfort zone and found a new will to change. “They saw this in me, that I wanted to create actions”.
Her way to change
María Mikaela comes from a weaving family. Both her parents are weavers, as well as María Mikaela herself. She loves weaving and hopes to be able to use her experience in weaving also while leading actions in her own community. She even compares weaving with creating engaging actions in the community: “If people like what I weave I will sell a lot. The same thing goes for the community: If I propose actions that the people like, they will join me.”
The most important thing for María Mikaela is that we all try to get out of our comfort zone. “I get really upset when I see that we are not getting out of our comfort zone” she says. “It really ties us up a lot!” And she uses herself as a good example: “I didn’t know anything and suddenly I steped out of my comfort zone and I saw a lot of things, asking myself: Why didn’t I know this already?”
The future of a change maker
In ten years from now, María Mikaela hopes that she will have gathered a lot of experience, to be able to help other young people creating their own strategy for change.
When she is asked what her biggest impact would be, she answers without hesitation: “To change people’s mentality!” She continues by describing how people tend to focus too much on their own life and their own work, without thinking about things like where their food comes from. Instead of people seeing a labelled food packaged, she want them to start thinking about where that package comes from, starting to reflect on and value what they eat.
We are very proud that María Mikaela is a part of SERES, as well as all the other youth leaders out there, making a difference every day. Thank you!