I’ll use this post both as a personal introduction to the community and as an application to the position you’re calling for.
Here’s my story.
I’ve been communities window-shopping in Bucharest for almost two years now and it’s been one hell of a ride, so I got excited and hopeful when I found out that Edgeryders is using it’s disruption-identifying goggles on Bucharest - you’ll discover (and catalyze!) awesome things.
From start-up hubs, leadership communities and bootstrapped social enterprises to neighbourhood associations, autonomous cultural spaces and environmental protests, Bucharest is definitely happening. I’m not saying this as a nationalist (cosmopolitanism is where it’s at) nor as an entirely born-and-raised Romanian. Returning to native Bucharest as a fresh graduate after a 14-year stay in hectic Venezuela meant having to discover this city and its communities almost as a foreigner would. Lost in space and cultural references I didn’t get, in a mix of awe, anxiety and sometimes disappointment. Yet after 4 years of discoveries, I wouldn’t trade this for any other place (no, not even Berlin ;)). My excitement and confidence in the future of this city comes from the fact that the effervescence of communities in Bucharest is real and they need all the support they can get - I would love to help Spot the Future map it and connect it to the larger Edgeryders community.
Window-shoping for communities and projects with a cause wasn’t a passive journey or a side-activity. It was driven by the need to have control over my life and work and to use my skills for a project larger than myself (since climbing the corporate ladder, building a family or owning property weren’t the kind of things I was drawn to), so I began volunteering at several NGOs I felt close to (youth work in precarious communities, neighbourhood community organising, place-making and tactical urbanism in shrinking cities) while also building a community I felt was missing.
Addressing your questions,
(1) I’m currently most focused on HeyMarie.ro, a community of Millennials discussing the big issues of early adulthood in a time of uncertainty but also of great potential for autonomy and self-starter culture. Based on our readers’ stories, interviews and events, we curate conversations on work, relationships, body image, identity and representation. The goal is to empower young women and men into making bold life choices by presenting a wider spectrum of livelihoods and lifestyles than mainstream media has to offer. It is a collaborative project meant to offer choice, solidarity and representation of diversity (of identities, ethnicities, sexualities, cultures, lifestyle, occupations). While still actively involved in the NGO projects mentioned above, HeyMarie is my main project at the moment.
(2) Monetising projects that aim at social change is a challenge encountered in each of the projects I contribute to. The way I try to solve them, at this point, is by getting this issue out in the open and hopefully starting a larger conversation about how social innovation can find funding without appealing to the charity argument. We must do better than that.
(3) Many incredible initiatives in Romania are still so disconnected that some don’t even know of each other, much less work together. Spot the Future can connect them to each other, and to a wider network. I see Spot the Future as contributing to the budding ecosystem of change-makers and social innovators that still fight individual battles when they’re in fact carrying out work that benefits their entire communities. Spot the Future could take stock of all these initiatives & makers, map and voice their pains and needs and potentially draft a guide to how to grow and be sustainable (even financially) in collaboration. For your 3 initiative challenge, I’d invite Casa Jurnalistului, Claca and a group of programmers for a hackathon on community-led citizen reporting tools.
That’s it for now. Happy to be joining the Edgeryders platform and very looking forward to making connection magic happen. \m/