Maya Aumaj overcomes her ilness and helps young people finding a job
I have studied literary studies and cultural anthropology, and I was confronted with a muscle disease at the same time. I no longer had any strength in my upper arms, and at the low point, I was unable to eat and speak properly. Luckily, the treatments had a positive effect, and I got the disease under control.
I became ambassador for the ‘Spierfonds’ in 2013. I was always actively networking, and in the summer of 2017, I made an appeal during the dance event ‘Free to Move’ in the summer of 2017 that I was looking for a job. I was tipped about a job opening at the Ministry of General Affairs. At the same time, I got into contact with the foundation ‘Studeren en Werken op Maat’ (SWOM). SWOM offered me a coach right away. These talks helped me a lot in order to protect my energy levels. Through this coaching, I learned how I could gradually extend my working hours. This was very important. The muscular disease was under control, but I still suffered from fatigue. By playing sports, taking medication and doing the coaching, I learned to deal with this.
At SWOM, I was asked to become a buddy and I did not have to think twice about it. It seemed wonderful to me to help someone get on their way. I have a feeling for this myself, of course. The training was very interesting. We were taught conversational tactics. But we also learned where the role of SWOM coach ends, and that of a buddy begins.
Proper listening and asking are key themes in the buddy training. The dialogues I have as a buddy are very informative for me as well. They are a mirror. I talk to young people who are really too hard on themselves. And I do the same from time to time. Young people struggle with insecurity or shame. As a buddy, I can show them what their talents are and how they can still make a contribution.
I have finalised one guidance trajectory and I am now in contact with someone who has the same interests as I do, and who studies the same subject. This is great, of course! The contact happens when there is a want for it. It is all very spontaneous. Being a buddy is really just a very fun position. Young people seriously struggle and I am very happy to be able to help them on their way. This group of youngsters has a lot to offer. Society would be missing out if they were not allowed to put these talents into use through a job.