Volunteer Profile: Shaili Zappa | The Center for Victims of Torture

Volunteer Profile: Shaili Zappa

Shaili Zappa
Friday, February 5, 2016

In less than a year, CVT volunteer Shaili Zappa has already made an important contribution – translating the New Tactics for Human Rights manual into Spanish. “As a Latina who was born and raised in Guatemala, it is important for me to feel like I am helping the Latino community in any way I can, and to make this training manual available for so many people in different communities makes me incredibly happy.”

While studying at the University of Minnesota, an acquaintance who works as a therapist for CVT recommended that Shaili look into volunteering with CVT. After perusing CVT’s website and reading about its unique human rights work, Shaili said, “I pretty much immediately fell in love with the organization.”

Through her work with New Tactics, Shaili employed her Spanish language skills as well as her liberal arts degree. Reading through and translating the manual, she learned practical skills that have complemented her theory-based education. “I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about my liberal arts degree being too vague and not providing me with enough hard skills or anything too ‘practical.’ The New Tactics manual changed that for me; as I translated the document, I started learning more skills than I had ever learned in a typical college class.” Shaili shared that she has learned different strategies on how to make her human rights work more efficient, as well as how to approach people who disagree with her views, and bring them closer to the causes she cares deeply about.

Shaili is now utilizing her new skills as a researcher for Wings Guatemala, a non-profit organization that works to provide family planning education and access to reproductive health services for Guatemalan families. Even though she has returned home to Guatemala, she plans to continue to volunteer with New Tactics. “I believe in what CVT does and I want to support it in any way I can.” Thus far, her favorite memory of volunteering with CVT has been the people. “The gratefulness and kindness with how people treat you at CVT make you hopeful that you really are making a difference, even though you don’t know it.”



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