Displaced Puerto Rican student shares her story in the latest issue of Assembly.
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Assembly

2 August 2018 | Volume 1, Issue 3
  A note from our editor:
Let me introduce you to two of the incredible young women featured in this week’s issue of Assembly: Camila Cruz, a displaced Puerto Rican student and Ayami Sato, the best women’s baseball player in the world.  

Hurricane Maria devastated Camila’s community, leaving her family without electricity and forcing Camila to relocate across the country to continue her education. She writes about the challenges of being displaced and her hopes for Puerto Rico’s future.

Growing up in Japan, Ayami didn’t have any female baseball players to look up to as role models. Now the star of the only women’s baseball league in the world, Ayami tells us about using her platform to encourage other young girls to pursue careers on the baseball diamond.

Also in this issue, we ask readers (hey you!) to share self-portraits — our favourites will be published in a future issue of Assembly! And girls from Portugal, Uruguay, Nepal and the U.S. tell us about problems facing their communities.

Happy reading and I can’t wait to see those self-portraits!

Tess
 
 
The most harrowing experience of my life

Displaced Puerto Rican student writes about fighting to stay in college after Hurricane Maria.
Camila
 
  By Camila Cruz, 20, Puerto Rico
My name is Camila. I’m a student from Humacao, Puerto Rico.

On September 20, 2017, I went through the most harrowing experience of my life. Hurricane Maria hit and devastated my island. My family and I spent months with very limited resources. No water, no electricity and very little food.

This catastrophic event changed everything. I was in the middle of my semester at the University of Puerto Rico. Studying under those conditions became too challenging. In order to continue with my degree in architecture, I had to suddenly transfer to another college.

With encouragement from my family and the people of Puerto Rico, and with help from great friends in New York and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), I connected with institutions opening their doors to students from Puerto Rico. I was accepted to the California College of the Arts (CCA). It wasn’t easy because of the cost, but with much sacrifice, I enrolled in CCA and relocated to San Francisco, California.

I'm currently working very hard to complete my bachelor’s degree, but it is challenging. Scholarships are difficult to secure. Art supplies and housing are expensive. I had to leave the student dorms because of the price. I have been looking for somewhere else to stay for months — I’m completely alone here without any family or friends.

I love studying, I love architecture, I love books and I know I’m capable of doing great things. But it is exhausting to have to fight so hard just to be able to go to school. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing or if everything will be OK. I wonder how many other students are forced out of school so they can pay their bills. I wonder how many other students can’t afford food at the end of the day.

My dream is to become a practitioner and focus on environmental design so I can develop productive and sustainable projects. My interest in architecture began when I was a child — I wanted to solve the problems I saw in society.

Witnessing how the hurricane destroyed our infrastructure has made me even more determined to give back to my country. After eight months without electricity in our house, my family in Puerto Rico got the power back, but it’s still really unstable. We need buildings that can stand hurricane conditions and structures that can provide better shelter.

My plan is to create an impact in the design industry not only with new buildings, but with a new perspective of what should be our priorities as a society. It shouldn’t be so hard to get an architecture degree — particularly for women of color. It shouldn’t take so long to provide citizens with access to basic utilities. When I’m an architect — and I know that one day I will become one — I will fight to change these injustices.
 
 
Social Life
 
 
Quotation Marks

It’s been one month since Assembly launched and we want to see who’s part of our community! Share a self-portrait on Twitter or Instagram using #MyAssembly and tagging @MalalaFund.

Selfies are welcome, of course, but so are illustrations, videos and even poems. Don’t forget to include a few words about yourself. We’ll publish a few of our faves in an upcoming issue.


 
 
Queen of Diamonds

Meet Ayami Sato, the best women’s baseball player in the world.
Japanese_Pitcher
 
  Not many girls dream of becoming professional baseball players. Why strive for a career that isn’t really an option for women?

That was the case for Ayami Sato. Ayami began playing baseball at age 6, but she never thought she could play professionally simply because the opportunity didn’t exist.

But that changed in 2009 with the founding of the Japanese Women’s Baseball League (JWBL). “I heard about the league during a time when I was worried that I would have to keep playing baseball in an unfair environment designed for men,” she said in an interview.

Now a veteran pitcher, Ayami is “the best women’s baseball player in the world,” according to Baseball America. She has the stats to back it up, too. The 28-year-old right-hander led the league in wins and ERA (earned run average) in 2016 and has twice been named Most Valuable Player at the Women’s Baseball World Cup.

Read more.
 
 
Around the World
 
  What is a problem your community faces?

“Body image and racial problems are the issues I see most closely.”
— Teresa, 14, Portugal
“Although women have politically the same rights as boys, they don’t in real life. Boys earn more money doing the same job as a girl.”
— Aline, 13, Uruguay
Aline
Muna “We face many problems here like lack of good roads, extreme pollution and unemployment. Girls face these problems and many more, like boys harassing us and commenting on what we wear.”
— Muna, 18, Nepal
“There is one huge problem that our country faces and that is gun violence. Assault rifles are the biggest problem. A recent school shooting killed 17 people.”
— Rachel, 11, USA
Rachel
 
 
Get published in Assembly!
 
  Assembly publishes original work by girls, for girls. And we would love to include your voice! Send us your ideas and you could be featured in the next issue.
 
 
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